The smartphone industry is full of jargon that is difficult for non-insiders to understand. Charles Arthur at The Guardian recently posted a comprehensive explanation of a few terms that are the most confusing to casual observers, including “market share,” “installed base,” and “shipments.”
It’s easy to get caught up in headlines that point to Android phones having a dominant 80% “market share” in the global smartphone market, and Arthur wants people to dig deeper into that number by understanding what it really means, rather than take it at face value.
His article is a great read but at BI Intelligence we thought it would be useful to summarize his main points, with our definitions in bold:
1. Market share numbers are usually only a snapshot of smartphones shipped by manufacturers in a given quarter. Quarterly market share updates are not very useful on their own.
An example is IDC’s announcement Nov. 12 that phones running the Android operating system account for an 81% share of the global smartphone market.
It’s wrong to extrapolate from these quarterly market share numbers and think that 81% of phones in people’s hands are Android phones. The number just means that 81% of phones shipped in the quarter were Android devices. As Arthur explains, it’s ultimately sales that impact the installed base of devices, but most research firms and press reports actually discuss shipments.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – Google’s Android operating system reached a new milestone during the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. With a total base of 211.6 million smartphone units shipped during the quarter, Android accounted for 81.0% of all smartphone shipments, marking the first time that Android topped 80% in its short history. Despite high saturation rates in a number of mature markets, the overall smartphone space grew 39.9% year-over-year in the third quarter.
Also reaching a milestone was Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which grew an amazing 156.0% year over year. Granted, volumes started from a small base of 3.7 million units a year ago and overall market share is still less than five percent. But Microsoft’s efforts, with Nokia’s support behind it, helped drive the platform into multiple tiers and price points.
Cloud platform provider Citrix released its 4Q 2013 “Citrix Mobile Analytics Report,” offering readers insight into mobile data subscriber usage patterns and their impact on service providers’ networks. Turning to the Android mobile OS and platform, Citrix found that three apps – Media Player, Mobile Browser, and Google Play – account for 83% of Android device mobile data volume. Media Player alone accounts for more than 50%.
Mobile advertising has grown substantially along with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, according to the report. Mobile advertising now accounts for 1.6% of iOS data traffic and 2.2% of Android mobile data traffic, the report says. For 1Q 2012, those numbers were 1% and 2%, respectively.
Researcher IDC today slightly lowered its tablet shipment forecast for 2013 and beyond, saying that competing technologies, including larger-sized smartphones and futuristic wearable computing devices will steal some dollars that would have gone to tablets.
In its revised predictions, IDC trimmed 2013 tablet shipment expectations by 1% from 229.3 million units to 227.4 million.
The change also affected forecasts IDC has made for the years 2014-17. Today, IDC said global tablet shipments in 2017 will almost reach 407 million, about 1% less than a May estimate of 410 million.
The Brazilian mobile device market is booming – mobile phone penetration levels are reported to be well over 100%. This might not be the full story though – a 2011 Nielsen report into global youth mobile ownership shows the country has a high level of multiple subscriptions among the younger generation, which have skewed the true figures. Despite the size of the market and the popularity of mobile devices, mobility in the workplace is yet to be investigated. To rectify this, IDG Connect interviewed a select group of IT and business professionals to gain an insight into business mobile use in Brazil.
SAN MATEO, Calif., August 2013 – As expected, worldwide tablet shipment growth slowed in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13), according to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker. Worldwide tablet shipments finally experienced a sequential decline as total volumes fell -9.7% from 1Q13. However, the 45.1 million units shipped in the second quarter was up 59.6% from the same quarter in 2012, when tablet vendors shipped 28.3 million devices.
FRAMINGHAM, Mass. – The worldwide mobile phone market grew 6.0% year over year in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13). According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 432.1 million mobile phones in 2Q13 compared to 407.7 million units in the second quarter of 2012. The 2Q13 total was also slightly higher than the 428.8 million units shipped in the first quarter of 2013.
The growth in the mobile phone market was partly driven by vendors from outside the Top 5 who experienced torrid shipment growth that outpaced the overall market. Several vendors, including Alcatel and Huawei, had high double- and triple-digit growth rates in the second quarter for their Android-based offerings shipped to high-growth countries such as China and India. In 2Q13, these vendors from outside the Top 5 accounted for 44.8% of the overall shipment volume, up from 42.2% in the same quarter one year ago.
Over the next six months, nearly an equivalent percentage of mobile app developers expect to build for tablets as for smartphones: 81.34 percent vs. 84 percent, respectively. Since 2010, the number of developers focusing on enterprise apps has jumped from 38 percent to 51 percent, and the figure is further expected to rise as high as 63 percent by the end of the year.
These latest numbers come from a study conducted in April 2013, in which Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 6,046 Appcelerator Titanium developers. The duo claims this is the world’s largest survey of mobile app developers to date.