Ok then we have Apple (Samsung released Q4 numbers on Friday but as usual, they didnt' give us their smartphone number other than the total smartphone shipments were up.. I am projecting over 90M but lets see what the big analyst houses count for our number in early February)
So Apple.. How many iPhones? Only 51 Million for the October-December ie calendar Q4 quarter. That is up yes 53% from Q3 - but Q3 is historically Apple's worst quarter of the year while Q4 is the best as the new iPhone model is sold for the first full quarter. How does Q4 of 2013 compare to Q4 of 2012? Only 7% more iPhones sold this past Christmas worldwide than the year before. This while the industry has grown by 48%. This is NOT good news. Not good news at all.
So how does it show in the market share calculation? Apple's prelim iPhone market share now for Q4 is 15.7%. That is down from the same period a year ago when it was.. 22.0% !! MASSIVE fall. Yes Apple did again make obscenely big profits and yes the iPads sold well blah-blah-blah but the iPhone market share is now in SEVERE decline.
So lets look at the full year numbers. Apple sold 135.8 million iPhones in calendar year 2012. The industry grew by almost half since then. Apple managed to grow... 13% to 153.4 million units. Last year Apple had 20% market share globally in smartphones for the year. That tumbled to 15% for 2013 !!! This even as the iPhone 5C was introduced to spread Apple's market presence down the price range (and I did warn that the 5C was not cheap enough). It would be FAR worse if the 5C didn't exist.
THIS IS THE RECENT HISTORY
iPhone market share
Year 2009 . . . 14.6%
Year 2010 . . . 15.9%
Year 2011 . . . 19.1%
Year 2012 . . . 19.7%
Year 2013 . . . 15.0%
Yes it is now a fact, we've seen 'peak iPhone' in its market share - and now the iPhone will adjust gradually towards the historically consistent market share that the Macintosh has held in the PC market which will be single digits by the end of this decade definitely. (But we've known about this and peak iPhone on this blog for some time now...)
And how will 2014 play out? Because the market is growing at the bottom not the top, and Samsung is increasingly grabbing some of iPhone's top end and others like Sony Xperia etc are joining in on that fu, Apple's iPhone market share in 2014 will DEFINITELY go down even more, perhaps to about 12% range by full year 2014 - depending a bit on how Apple revises its dual product line during 2014 and perhaps lowers the prices of its bottom end..
Just as a note of how to play this market. Samsung reported growing smartphone sales from Q3. That means they have sold at least in the high 80s or likely in the low 90s of millions of smartphones in Q4. For the full year Samsung clears at least 310 million and likely well over 320 million smartphones. Samsung grew 50% from 2012 ie faster than the industry which grew 48% in the same period. Oh and Samsung is doing its smartphone sales very profitably - don't be fooled by the one-time cost item now in Q4 that was the surprise bonuses the CEO paid to the handset folks for achieving Samsung's dream of becoming the world's biggest handset maker. Without that one-time bonus payment the Samsung quarter was totally on par with its high profit smartphone business as per usual. Why is Samsung able to grow far faster than Apple? Samsung caters to all markets and offers a broad portfolio of smartphones that it updates feverishly many times per year. Apple just reluctantly last year went from one annual iPhone model to two. If you want to be a market leader you have to play the market leader game like a market leader. If you want to be a niche player - which is what Apple is - then dont' delude yourself - or your investors or app developer partners - that you are anything else...
As a company yes, high profits. I don't care about that on this blog. This is not a blog about investments. This is a blog about the industry and now that the iPhone market share is in clear decline annually, that long-standing myth that Apple can be a mass market platform should slowly die. Apple is to phones what Porsche is to cars - a highly desirable luxury niche item of fierce loyalty but not a mass market product for all price points and markets. That is Samsung (like Toyota is in cars)
PS feel free to discuss iPhone market share or iPhone features, apps, future versions etc. Don't post about Apple the company profits - that topic is not open to this blog and all comments discussing Apple profits (or Samsung profits) will be deleted as will all that deal with stock market evaluations, share prices etc.