Displaying items by tag: Strategy Analytics
Smartphone shipments plummet worldwide
Global shipments of smartphones have dropped 38 per cent year-on-year in February, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.
It was the biggest fall ever in the history of the worldwide smartphone market, in-line with forecasts of a sharp decline due to the impact of the global Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
61.8 million units were shipped during the month compared with 99.2 million during February 2019.
This trend is cited to both production issues, as factories were forced to close in an attempt to limit Covid-19 cases, along with a drop in consumer visits to retailers.
In a statement, Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston said: “Supply and demand of smartphones plunged in China, slumped across Asia, and slowed in the rest of the world.”
The company expects weak demand to also be reflected in its March figures.
Despite the grim forecasts, Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf was last week confident on global outlook after a slight rebound in handset demand in China.
The CEO noted the company is working towards the future: “I think the biggest issue you have to be prepared for is when this thing snaps back it snaps back hard, and make sure you’re in a position to take advantage of it. And so we’re trying to do the best job we can to be prepared.”
His comments came as cases of Covid-19 virus appeared to be improving in China, with handset and component production also beginning to return to normal.
Xiaomi becomes world's no.1 wearables vendor in Q2 2017
Xiaomi captured 17 percent of the global wearables marketshare in Q2 2017 and became the world’s largest wearables vendor for the first time ever, overtaking Fitbit and Apple, according to Strategy Analytics research. Global wearables shipments reached 22 million units in the quarter.
Steven Waltzer, Industry Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global wearables shipments reached 21.6 million units in Q2 2017, rising 8 percent annually from 20.0 million in Q2 2016. Strong demand for low-cost fitness-bands in China and premium smartwatches across the United States drove the uptick.”
Xiaomi shipped 3.7 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 23 percent annually from 3.0 million units in Q2 2016. Xiaomi captured 17 percent global marketshare and overtook Fitbit and Apple to become the world’s largest wearables vendor.
Xiaomi’s Mi Band fitness trackers are wildly popular in China, due to their highly competitive pricing and rich features such as heart-rate monitors, step-counters and calendar alerts, said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics.
Fitbit shipped 3.4 million wearables for 16 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, almost halving from 29 percent a year ago. Fitbit is at risk of being trapped in a pincer movement between the low-end fitness-bands sold by Xiaomi and the fitness-led, high-end smartwatches sold by Apple, he said.
“Apple shipped 2.8 million wearables worldwide in Q2 2017, growing 56 percent annually from 1.8 million in Q2 2016,” said Cliff Raskind, Director at Strategy Analytics.
“Apple has for now lost its wearables leadership to Xiaomi, due to a lack of presence in the sizeable fitness-band subcategory. However, the rumored upcoming Watch Series 3 launch with enhanced health tracking could prove to be a popular smartwatch model and enable Apple to reclaim the top wearables spot later this year.”
Global smartphone shipments increased 6% in Q2
According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments grew 6 percent annually to reach 360 million units in Q2 2017. Samsung maintained first position with 22 percent global smartphone marketshare, while Apple dipped to 11 percent share. Xiaomi surged 58 percent annually and rejoined the top five rankings for the first time in a year.
Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Global smartphone shipments grew a solid 6 percent annually from 341.5 million units in Q2 2016 to 360.4 million in Q2 2017. The global smartphone market has settled into a steady rhythm of single-digit growth this year, driven by first-time buyers across emerging markets like Africa and upgrades to flagship Android models in developed regions such as Western Europe.”
Samsung shipped 79.5 million smartphones worldwide in Q2 2017, rising 2 percent annually from 77.6 million units in Q2 2016, said Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics. Samsung continued its recovery from last year’s Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco, lifted by robust demand for the new Galaxy S8 portfolio with an innovative bezel-less design, he added.
“We expect the rumored Galaxy Note 8 upgrade with a bigger screen to further strengthen Samsung in the coming weeks. Apple grew 1 percent annually and shipped 41.0 million smartphones for 11 percent marketshare worldwide in Q2 2017, down slightly from 12 percent a year ago.”
Apple’s iPhone has gone out of fashion in China and this is placing a cap on its worldwide performance, Mawston added. Attention will now turn to Apple’s rumored iPhone 8 introduction later this year and whether its tenth-anniversary flagship model will be different or exciting enough to ignite a rebound in iPhone volumes for the important Q4 2017 Western holiday season.
Woody Oh, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Huawei maintained third position with a record 11 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, up from 9 percent a year ago. Huawei is now closing in fast on Apple and Apple will be looking nervously over its shoulder in the next few quarters. Huawei is outperforming across Asia, Europe and Africa with popular Android models such as the P10 and Mate 9.”
Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “OPPO shipped a healthy 29.5 million smartphones and maintained fourth position with a record 8 percent global marketshare in Q2 2017. OPPO grew an impressive 64 percent annually in the quarter, taking share from major rivals like ZTE, LG and TCL-Alcatel across China, India and Europe.”
Xiaomi soared 58 percent annually and recaptured fifth place for the first time in a year, taking a record 6 percent global smartphone marketshare in Q2 2017, leaping from 4 percent in Q2 2016, Sui said.
“Xiaomi’s range of Android models, such as the Redmi 4A, is proving wildly popular in India, snatching volumes from competitors such as Lenovo and Micromax. Xiaomi has bounced back since ex-Google exec, Hugo Barra, quit the company earlier this year and Xiaomi will be hoping the current momentum can be sustained into the second half of 2017.”
Virtual Reality: The hot topic that hasn’t quite hooked consumers
When the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset burst onto the scene in 2012 as a crowdfunding campaign later picked up by Facebook, a new tech boom had clearly emerged. A virtual reality headset provides immersive VR for the wearer – a concept that was only ever represented in sci-fi films. VR is fully available for consumers today, but at a price. Competitors to the Oculus Rift have emerged in recent years, with VR headsets released by Samsung, HTC, Sony and more. But despite VR’s hot topic status in the tech industry, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, there was little sign that VR has penetrated mainstream culture.
The virtual reality trend has been growing since leading companies like Samsung, HTC, Google, Sony, Microsoft and Facebook entered the ring. However, recent market research suggests that virtual reality isn’t penetrating the consumer market as much as it should be, considering the hype around it.
At the recent CES event held from January 5-8, 2017, there was a dedicated floor space for virtual reality demonstrations, where companies were able to showcase their latest developments with the technology, such as headsets, content, or other tools to better deliver immersive VR experiences.
Taiwan-based HTC used CES as a platform to announce initiatives aimed at encouraging developers to create more VR experiences and also revealed plans for arcades to be erected in public venues so more people could give VR a try. HTC Vive general manager, Daniel O’Brien said HTC had a “great” year with its VR headset and online game venue, but added that they’ve only just scratched the surface of potential.
“Our goal is to build the largest VR platform in the world,” O'Brien said at CES 2017. “2016 was a coming out party for VR; 2017 is developing it in the marketplace and continuing to evolve the product.”
In the competitive emerging VR market, HTC Vive is up against rival Sony’s PlayStation VR as well as Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, and many other emerging brands. Each company has been working hard to win over software developers to give them a leading product that could outshine the others and persuade consumers to fork out money to use virtual reality.
HTC said it plans to expand its VR equipment and will later this year release a “Vive Tracker” device that enables digital versions of real-world objects to easily be put into fantasy worlds. In addition, the company is working on a wireless version of its headset to make it more convenient for users to move around without being restricted by wires.
Rikard Steiber, head of Viveport virtual reality app shop, said that more than 3,000 titles for the Vive platform would be available by the end of 2017. The vision is to have Viveport serve all VR platforms, including those of Oculus and Sony, according to Steiber.
But even as HTC and Sony have entered the virtual reality arena with exciting VR PC-based and gaming headsets, it’s still unclear just how many consumers are willing to spend up to US$800 on the equipment. Sure, virtual reality headsets are exciting to behold at tech gatherings like CES, but will people really buy the products? That’s the question Strategy Analytics, a research firm, sought to answer. According to their research, just six percent of Americans will have owned VR equipment by the end of 2016.
The situation is looking optimistic for Sony’s VR investment, according to chief executive Kazuo Hirai, who said at CES 2017 that the Japanese consumer electronics giant had sold over 53.4 million PlayStation 4 consoles, which can power its virtual reality headset. To keep up the momentum, he said Sony plans to add more services and content to the PlayStation 4 lineup, including VR games.
Research by Strategy Analytics concluded that the VR industry would drive about $556 million in sales within the US during the period from October 2016 to the end of December 2016. The US is the driving force behind virtual reality for now, according to the research, which suggests that VR consumer penetration in the US is higher than anywhere else, mostly due to aggressive “giveaways,” says Strategy Analytics’ analyst David MacQueen.
For example, Google gave away many of its Cardboard VR units – a cardboard virtual reality platform developed by Google for use with a head mount for a smartphone – as did the New York Times, which reportedly gave away about 1.5 million of the US$15 gadgets for free to print subscribers. However, don’t be fooled by the low price: Google’s Cardboard VR equipment requires a smartphone to work. The Cardboard platform is “intended as a low-cost system to encourage interest and development in VR applications.”
Even so, through January 2016, over five million Cardboard viewers had shipped and over 1,000 compatible applications had been published, according to reports. Following the success of the Cardboard platform, Google announced an enhanced VR platform, Daydream, at Google I/O 2016.
That’s the catch with much of the VR gear on the market today: it requires additional equipment to work. For instance, Sony’s PlayStation VR only works with a compatible game console. Sony’s VR hardware accounted for six percent of total VR headset sales in 2016, according to Strategy Analytics’ research. Furthermore, Facebook’s PC-based VR headset the Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive VR headset made up just one percent of sales.
Strategy Analytics’ David MacQueen has likened virtual reality equipment in the tech industry to the automotive industry: Most vehicle owners have a low-priced car like a Toyota or a Ford, while some people might fork out and buy something more expensive like a Porsche, and relatively few people own a premium vehicle such as a Lamborghini or Ferrari (the latter representing VR equipment in the tech industry).
It’s apparent from CES 2017 that there are many companies eager to jump into the VR industry, but MacQueen says the reality is that “VR take-up among the US public will be a slow burn and dominated by low-cost headsets,” the same way the auto industry is dominated by low-cost cars, and only a few have the means to splurge on premium, expensive hardware.
There are those, however, who defend the emerging virtual reality industry, like Shawn DuBravac, chief economist at the Consumer Technology Association behind the CES exhibition. DuBravac believes that in time, the sales of mixed reality equipment will grow, and the range of uses for virtual reality will expand beyond gaming which it seems to be stuck in right now. “There’s a lot of investment going into content,” he said. “Sales will eventually come.”
At CES 2017, HTC offered an optimistic glimpse of what the future of virtual reality could behold, expanding beyond its traditional gaming uses. The Taiwanese corporation announced that it will soon launch what has been dubbed “Netflix for VR,” the world’s first virtual reality app subscription.
The service, according to HTC, will be aimed at helping developers reach audiences and make revenue from virtual reality, which will in turn inspire the creation of more VR content. The company also plans to bring VR to shopping malls and other public locations, even going so far as to envision “Viveport Arcades” in operation by the end of 2017.
HTC and Sony were among more than two dozen companies that used CES 2017 as a platform to announce the creation of a Virtual Reality Industry Forum, which aims to “further the widespread availability of high-quality audiovisual VR experiences,” said a press statement.
Those within the forum want to see standards and formats established that allow quality VR content to be equally accessible from the various VR devices, which would avoid “fragmentation” that has plagued the audio-visual media in the past, according to the release.
This is “crucial for the market to take off,” said Sky broadcast strategy chief engineer, Chris Johns in the release, adding that he hopes “2017 will be the year when intense consumer interest in VR spurs a quantum leap in the user experience.”