At yesterday’s developer conference Apple announced that iOS was now in 200 million devices. That’s good going, making their mobile operating system Apple’s greatest asset. However, before brands start assuming that ‘everyone has an iPhone’, it’s worth getting a bit more understanding of what these figures really mean:
- Whilst 200 million iOSs puts Apple level pegging with the most successful mobile phone ever, the Nokia 1100, that was a single device. Apple’s figure is across the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
- Apple tell us there are 25 million iPads out there. They have trounced the tablet market with no one coming close in terms of sales.
- Although we don’t have up-to-date figures from Apple (they don’t publish separate iPod touch figures), there is plenty of financial analysis (and their lawsuit against Samsung) which indicates that it represents 1/3rd of their iOS users. That puts iPod Touch sales at around 60 million.
- That leaves the iPhone with sales of 115 million over four years – that’s consistent with figures published earlier this year estimating phone sales at just over 110 million.
- The iPhone is currently the best selling smartphone, however there are more hansets using Android than iOS.
115 million sales of a device over four years is great going, and in many markets the iPhone is the best-selling handset. However, these figures aren’t the complete picture.
For a start, that figure of 115 million represents total sales, not actually devices in use. How many people still use an iPhone 2g or 3g? We simply don’t know the actual numbers, but if we are looking at Apple phones in people’s pockets then the figure will be well below the total sales.
From a brand engagement perspective, it is important to understand where your customers are in the mobile landscape and what they are doing on their phones. Many marketers assume that most people have an iPhone, or at least the ones they want to be talking to. However, when we look at the smartphone market share then the global split is 36% Android, 26% iPhone and 25% BlackBerry. In the UK the total handset market share is 15% Android, 10% BlackBerry and 9% iPhone. Nielsen also found that Android users access more data (and nearly as many apps) as their iPhone counterparts.
Whilst it’s true that iPod Touch and iPad are still iOS and offer opportunities for brands, the fact is that the device usage and demographics are different to the iPhone. iPod touches are popular amongst a younger audience (many of who have a BlackBerry for their phone), where the main activity is around listening to music, watching videos or playing games. Similarly with the iPad, it is much more than a big iPhone. Magazine reading, rich content and higher end gaming are more the order of the day.
There’s no question that the advent of the iPhone four years ago significantly shifted our ideas of what a mobile phone is (or can do). Apple lead in terms of profitability, but it’s important to look behind the figures and realise that there are many more handsets out there than just the iphone.
Apple has announced that they sold over 18 million iPhones worldwide in the first quarter of 2011. Pretty good going, considering that this is one of their quieter periods. Although Apple’s sales are performing well, devices using Google’s Android are still taking the largest share of the smartphone market worldwide. What is interesting about the latest announcement is that 50% of the $24.6 billion revenue now come from this device. In the last quarter of 2010 it was just 33% of their profits. These profits don’t just count sales of handsets themselves, but include related services such as operator revenues and app sales.
On the flip side, iPad sales were lower than expected. That was largely due to production, as the company sold every tablet device it could make. Their iPod sales were also down, but that is no surprise given that iPhones and iPads have the same kind of functions.
These results reinforce two key points about Apple:
Firstly, they are about profit, not volume. In other words, Apple are not trying to put an iPhone in everyone’s pocket (in spite of Steve Job’s earlier claim), they are a premium product.
Secondly, in order to retain that premium space Apple are vociferously defending their patents.
I previously blogged about Apple becoming the fourth largest handset manufacturer. Here, I look at the figures for smartphones only. The at-a-glance status is:
Nokia 26.5M (33%)
Apple 14.1M (18%)
RIM 12.4M (15%)
Samsung 7.9M (10%)
HTC 6.8M (9%)
Moto 3.8M (5%)
Traditionally Q3 is Nokia’s worst time, and Apple’s best. They only bring out one iPhone a year, and this is reflected in the sales figures. My guess is that a vast majority of these sales are the iPhone 4, so we can estimate their current sales of this mobile at 12-14 million. What is significant about this though is that Apple has jumped ahead of RIM. In spite of the youth appeal of BlackBerry and BBM, the Canadian company have lost their way, failing to bring out the killer handsets that others have. Samsung have done particularly well, but it’s no surprise when you look at the Galaxy S and their entry level smartphones. What they have also done through using Google’s OS, Android, is make it the second most popular operating system:
Symbian 29M – 36%
Android 20M – 25%
iOS 14M – 18%
RIM 12M – 15%
WinMo 2M – 3%
Samsung, Motorola and HTC have all benefitted from using Android. This appears to have been at the expense of Symbian, which may have previously appealed to the Android manufacturers.The distribution of Android amongst manufacturers is as follows:
1. HTC 33%
2. Samsung 31%
3. Motorola 18%
4. SonyEricsson 8%
Although Samsung sell more smartphones than HTC, some of those use their own Bada OS. Interestingly sales of Bada phones are greater than Android sales were at the equivalent point. Certainly one OS to watch.
Overall smartphone sales were up this quarter by nearly 30% – yet more evidence that the mobile world will be all smartphones sooner or later.
*Source figures from TomiAhonen Consulting
The latest figures for Q3 show that Apple are now the forth largest mobile manufacturer behind Nokia, Samsung and LG. Shifting 14 million phones in the quarter, the company overtook RIM’s BlackBerry for the first time (see previous iphone sales stats). Apple have benefitted from the launch of the iPhone 4, so it is quite possible that RIM will jump ahead of them later this year. Nokia still sell 8 x the volume of phones than Apple at 110 million … that’s more phones that Apple have ever sold! However the Finish manufacturer has a massive range of handsets, whereas there is just the iPhone 4 (and 3gs) – pretty successful for a single model.
What is interesting is how Apple has made it into the top 5. Basically some of their main competitors: Sony Ericsson and Motorola have given up the fight. What I mean, is that having made losses for some time, they have stopped being global manufacturers and concentrated primarily on smartphones in regional markets: Motorola in the US and Sony Ericsson in Europe. Nokia and Samsung, have been successful at providing the basic phones, especially in emerging mobile markets. However, they are making the shift to smartphones. Samsung have a real contender to the iPhone in the Galaxy S. If you don’t care about the Apple logo on your phone (yes, there are some people outside the media industries who really don’t care) then the Samsung phone is an excellent choice.
Of course, Apple still make more profit than all the others put together. As I keep saying, with that kind of success why would you need to take over the world and become the biggest? What’s wrong with being the most profitable?
An interesting article here, looks at how Apple’s iphone has blown away the competition in terms of profitability. Though only 3% of the handset market, the iphone has generated more profit for Apple than the other manufacturers combined. In a way, it’s not surprising. Apple do not sell cheap handsets, and they have also dictated the price plans to the mobile operators. In fact, when you throw in the app store, everything that Apple do is geared towards high profit.
The key point, however is that Apple are neither after the biggest slice of the market nor the biggest selling handset. I suspect they are quite happy with their 3%, but highly profitable share. I have argued many times on this blog, that the iphone is a niche product when looking at the overall handset market. I say that, because many marketers and ad agencies seem to think that it is the ONLY handset out there. Or at least the only one worth thinking about. As Android takes a hold with some great handsets from Samsung and Motorola, then the iphone’s share of the smartphone market may indeed fall. But with the kind of profits that Apple are showing, why should they worry?
An Apple spokesperson has dismissed the latest figures showing Android outstripping the iphone in the US. The press release pointed out that just 150,000 people in the US were surveyed and that Apple experienced 131% sales increase in Q1. The survey, however, was conducted by a reputable research firm, and is consistent with other studies which show Android sales sitting above Apple’s by the end of this year. The war of words continues!
… and Blackberry sells the most. According to figures from ND Group, the iphone represented 21% of smartphone sales in Q1 2010, whereas Android took a 28% market share, and Blackberry remained the market leader with 36%.
It’s certainly true that the iphone is a single model handset whereas both Android and Blackberry cover a number of models. However, it confirms that Apple, though highly significant in phone sales, far from dominate the market.
More on the story here.