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January 28, 2015




I understand that it was not a forecast of that last quarter and you did a forecast of 2015 giving Apple 12% market share for the full year 2015. Can I assume this is still the valid forecast?

"Every quarter now, Q1, Q2 and Q3 of 2015, the market share of the iPhone will fall."

How can you say that if Apple's market share should be compared for the full year and it's not about the single quarters?

Can we evaluate Apple after the calendar Q1 results if we compare the last 4 quarters to the 4 quarters before those?

Tomi T Ahonen

fokke and Baron

fokke - Good question. It would be a bit silly to forecast this year 2015 just before the NUMBERS are in for the past year 2014. I do have a long-term forecast if you want to see for the full decade that splits the performance by year. But there will be a year 2015 forecast after we know what happened in 2014.

Apple performance is only validly compared on annual performance not quarter. A quarterly YoY (same quarter last year) is not valid becuase of the huge volatility. See Q4 for example, iPhone jumped 46% but the annual growth (year 2013 to 2014) was only 26%. If you do want to do a fair annual update every quarter, then use the moving average of the past 12 months ie 4 quarters, so after we have April results, you would add Q2, Q3, Q4 of 2014 and the fresh Q1 of 2015. But individual Quarters is totally either QoQ or YoY, totally misleading. I say this EVERY time on the blog, including the hot periods and the horrid periods. That is not how Apple can be measured the only measure is annual market share. And that is (again) down.

Baron95 - fine but that number cannot be determined. So you didn't answer my question. Not in premium segment (for which there are no published stats) but in all smartphones. Do you think annual 2015 market share for iPhone globally is up or down (or flat) from 2014? As to haha, good analogy K2 sized mountain. No, maybe Kilimanjaro sized mountain yes but nowhere near K2 or Mt Everest haha. It is not 'unprecedented momentum' the peak has already passed and January quarter iPhone sales will be down. The industry sales - however - will NOT be down into January quarter. So iPhone market share is again already on the decline. Again.

(PS happy that not everybody is jumping on my forecasts haha.. cheers. Gosh, I was BY far the most accurate forecaster again for the smartphone industry - I nailed all those Top 4 brands long before we now have Strategy Analytics confirming the ranking and the market shares. I was off on each by no more than 1%. And there were lots of the silly stuff coming in even the past week about Xiaomi supposedly number 3 haha)

Tomi Ahonen :-)



Did I understand correctly that your previous estimate from the time iPhone 6 was released is no longer a valid one? That estimate was 12% for full 2015.

If so, your estimate for iPhone losing market share for full year 2015 is still a valid one, isn't it?

The moving average sounds good since that's effectively the same thing as it's with comparing full calendar years.

Tomi T Ahonen

Baron95 and fokke

Baron - fair enough and we roughly agree. Apple really doesn't care about the bottom and they shouldn't. And they very clearly are avoiding it like the plague and several rivals who have wandered into that swamp are rushing to get out (Huawei now the latest haha). But yeah, we agree, iPhone market share in the global total market will be down. Now what happens in the premium market, I am not so certain. I am confident Apple holds most customers who got into the iReligion, the Apple loyalty is legendary. But its not 100%. And the rivals are really sharpening their knives now. This past year was 'an off year' for Samsung in terms of the Galaxy S5 similar to how the Nokia N97 was an off year for Nokia. Nokia came back with the amazing N8 that set Nokia sales records and was still picking industry awards a year after it was launched. I think Samsung will come very strong with the Galaxy S6. It would fit a highly competitive company which knows internally, their previous flagship was a dud. Then the next one will get all the attention to fix that deficiency.

Meanwhile as I wrote, the Note 3 is doing fine and its upgrade will do even better. But Apple? The rumors are that they will upgrade the 5S and 5C models, bottom end, small-screen iPhones (possibly also with better camera) and the top end phablets will live for a 2-year cycle. That would sound like Apple. And then by Christmas 2015 the iPhone 6 Plus will be a sorry sight haha... I am not so confident Apple can hold its enormous position of the premium end but no, they won't collapse out of it haha, the Apple loyalty guarantees they will remain biggest there.

fokke - haha, hey. If I said 14% in 2014 and 12% in 2015. Now the numbers come in and 2014 was 15% rather than 14% then you can pretty well guess, I probably will raise my forecast for 2015 above that 12% level. But honestly, I am NOT going to do that without all the data points that are coming in now. Like I was not expecting Samsung Christmas 2014 sales to be down in units. That is not what I expected, now I have to take that strange issue into account when considering my 2015 forecast. Apple can't be forecasted in isolation haha. So please wait, I will give you one when I have the info to make it. But do I still think 12% this year, probably will be a bit better than that, but yes, iPhone market share for all smartphones sold in 2015 will be down from iPhone global market share in 2014.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Lets clarify that Tim Cook statement in the conference call. So a 'low teens' and 'barely in the teens' level - say 12% - of installed base of iPhone owners has now upgraded to iPhone 6 models. How much is that? We have my installed base for iPhone at end of Q3 to be 373 million. Take 12% of that its 45 million who have so far upgraded to iPhone 6 models. Now. What about the rest? Did 30 million Android users dump their Samsungs Sonys and HTCs? No. They also said in the conference call that all models are selling well, bestselling model currently is iPhone 6 but all models selling well including iPhone 5C and 5S.

So lets take a guesstimate of that then. Lets say iPhone 6 Plus is second bestseller. Lets give them arbitrary 1-2-3-4 split, 40% for iPhone 6, 30% for 6 Plus, 20% for 5x and 10% for 5y, you pick which was 5C and 5S. Now 30% of total Q4 iPhone sales were 5 models, 70% were 6 models. That means 52 million iPhone 6 models. Nice. BUT out of those 45M went to existing iPhone owners. So 7M is max that brought in non-iPhone owners to 6 models (potential steals from flagships of rivals, the 5 models won't do that now anymore). Some 7 models went to first-time smartphone buyers ie not stealing from Android but converting from dumbphones. Max stolen customers to iPhone powered by 6 models was 7 million, likely far less like 5M or 4M but more than half definitely.

So obviously most of the hysteria and hype and gigantic leap of iPhone sales in Q4 was - as expected - loyal iPhone owners rushing to get their latest iToy who had waited so long to finally have an Galaxy-like large-screen iPhone. The vast majority of iPhone 6 models were sold to EXISTING iPhone owners. The model is not competitive enough even at launch to significantly steal phablet screen users from rival brands who have bigger screens, better screens, microSD slots - and BETTER cameras haha... but yeah, Apple fans will of course flock to the latest iPhone model. As I said, this was not a great quarter, they didn't even match the performance of their best Christmas peaks in market share. It was manna from heaven for Apple fans only. Check out the numbers and math doesn't pick sides. I am a realist on this blog, not an iFanatic.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

KPOM - sorry, they said Note 4. How am I supposed to keep my head clear with all these numbers. What is next, an iPhone 7?

haha sorry

Tomi :-)



"Apple hit it out of the park and increased their user base by around 20-25 million"

I would say that when comparing Apple's year 2014 to Nokia's year 2010 Apple was doing much better than Nokia was doing at the time.

Apple sold more smartphones. Gained more new users. The increase in absolute unit sales was much bigger compared to what Nokia had. Had more revenue. Apple lost less market share compared to how much Nokia lost that YoY. Apple also had a bigger installed base of smartphone users than Nokia had.

The only comparison where Nokia wins is the market share but even there Nokia lost it more than Apple did. That makes Apple to win on the trend.

One could say that the smartphone market is much bigger today. That however shouldn't really matter since Nokia was also losing market share for full year 2010 and while people could argue if that was expected or not, the fact is that most people were forecasting Nokia to lose even more market share in 2011. That confirms it as a trend.

So, how was Apple doing in 2014?

Tomi T Ahonen


No. You are mesmerized by the noise. Apple had a good quarter for iPhone sales BUT NOT GOOD ENOUGH. It set the world record for profits by any corporation, whoopte doo. It wasn't GOOD ENOUGH.

Are you KPOM going to state here on this blog now, that you think iPhone will INCEASE its market share from 2014 to 2015 with this underwhelming performance when it couldn't keep up with the industry in 2014. This is the one-off spike that Apple always has AND IT WASN'T GOOD ENOUGH

I was TOTALLY correct. Record sales record units record profits BUT NOT INCREASED MARKET SHARE. Totally 100% correct. And now its down hill for 9 more months. Then whatever miracles are in iPhone 7, it will not be enough to turn this year 2015 into growth in market share. That means iPhone 6 was NOT GOOD ENOUGH. The Christmas seasons for all the fantastic congratulations of silly speculators on Wall Street who couldn't bother to forecast well, so the expectation was riduclously low, yeah now the iSheep are in euphoria. If they used the same logic they should be suicidal every July.

KPOM - do you commit to a position that iPhone will gain market share globaly from year 2014 to 2015 - not 'my number' but by using the average of those 3 analyst houses we always use? Do you? If not, then shut up. I was right, iPhone did not do enough in Q4 to turn back to market share growth.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


Haha good analogy... That is exactly the same situation. Nokia grew with its own record sales BUT it wasn't good enough, and Nokia was bleeding market share. Its average sales prices were up, hugely satisfied customers but yes, all analysts - including me - predicted Nokia market share going into 2011 (before the Elop Effect obviously) was going to continue to decline. Exactly same scenario. The christmas quarter was a record, but it wasn't enough.

haha good analogy. Gosh it hurts when Nokia is used as the example of how to fail in mobile haha..

(and obviously Apple is the most profitable company in history I am NOT saying they will die or fail or go over the cliff. Only that they are seeing continuing shrinking market share that heads to 10% range by 2020. Into Macintosh PC territory)

Tomi Ahonen :-)



"(and obviously Apple is the most profitable company in history I am NOT saying they will die or fail or go over the cliff. Only that they are seeing continuing shrinking market share that heads to 10% range by 2020. Into Macintosh PC territory)"

How is exactly the analyst estimate for Apple's market share in 2015? Your estimate is obviously not out but it's roughly 12-15% if I understood correctly. Too early maybe.

When comparing Apple to Nokia of 2010 the second last missing peace is the forecasts Nokia had before Feb. 11. and comparing that to the forecasts Nokia had at the time. We should get that in a matter of weeks.

What it comes to 2020 market share I would say that Apple is heading towards 12-16% share because they will also gain more unit sales and it somehow looks unlikely that the total mobile phone sales of 2020 would be much higher compared to what it is today. This is because of second hand phones being used much longer and smartphones replacing the dumphones.

Mac is also gaining on sales. Besides, Steve Jobs thought that Mac laptops were mobile devices when he proclaimed that Apple was bigger in mobile than Nokia in 2009 if measured with revenues. He did include everything but the desktop computers.



"(so far, it was a forecast FOR THE FULL YEAR not only Q4)"

As Tomi said here, it was a forecast of a full year and not about the Christmas quarter. Tomi apparently didn't make a forecast about how many phones Apple will sell in that quarter so that's it.

@KPOM & Tomi

Can't you compare Apple's market share once the Q1 results are out? Just pick the last 4 quarters and compare that. It will give just as accurate number to compare as it would be comparing the calendar years.

Apple told us that they will sell roughly about 65 Million iPhones in the first quarter of 2015. Will that happen or how will that impact the market share, I have no idea. KPOM, you make the calculations and come back with that, ok?

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Looks like someone fails at a basic reading comprehension test.

"But for Apple to achieve a stabilization of its market share erosion year-on-year, would require roughly 64 million iPhone sales for the Christmas Quarter now. Even that would only give a market share annually of about 14.5%. And it would require a herculean jump from the 51 million iPhones sold last year in the Christmas quarter. I think more reasonable is something nearer 58 to 59 million."

It's amazing how you can fail to spot that word there, but yeah. Even then, going from 51 to 76M in one year is quite a feat - but *not enough* to defend their *global market share*.

"Market share keeps falling. When will it stabilizea d to what level. I expect around 9% in a couple of years. The large screen phablets will not restore iPhone to growth, they may stall the decline for a quarter or two. Then it again continues."

Which is what Tomi has said all the time. It's perfectly simple, do the math yourself.

Let's say the total smartphone market is 200M devices and a company sells 40M devices. That gives a market share of 20%, yes?

Next year the market explodes. Say, 700M devices sold in total, and said company sells 70M at record profits. The company did very well in growing their sales - but not enough to defend their market share which is now down to 10%!

And many people say "So what screw market share Porshe has a tiny market share and do well for themselves!" Well, unfortunately the car industry is not half as dependent on an App ecosystem as phones (and PCs for that matter) are.

Apple are thus repeating their mistake from the 80s. At this rate the only way forward is down for Apple. Down, until iPhone is marginalized and devs abandon the iPhone for the bigger ecosystem(s?). But hey, that's ten years from now so who cares, yes?


@Per "wertigon" Ekström:

"Looks like someone fails at a basic reading comprehension test."

That seems to be a common problem with the Apple camp. The good news for Apple are exaggerated and hailed as 'great success' but the view on the big picture is conveniently ignored.

That said, Q4 played out exactly as I expected: A disproportionately high number of users prematurely upgraded their hardware and a lot of customers who were just waiting for Apple to release a larger phone returned or did a long-delayed upgrade of their old phone. It was clear from the outset that this would happen. But again: This was so long overdue that the pent-up demand was beyond massive. Now this has been satisfied and things should quickly return to normal. Next year we'll just see the normal upgrade cycle again because those who held out now are clearly not the ones with the most intense need for a large screen phone.

The fact remains: This was two years too late and I wonder how many potential customers Apple actually lost in those two years who will never come back.

Tomi T Ahonen


Don't do that! You know PERFECTLY WELL what I wrote in that October blog "For the full year iPhone is heading to approx 14% market share" - it is EXACTLY the same forecast I had from September, which is EXACTLY the same 14% I told you in July. Don't fucking put words in my mouth. I HATE that. What I explain CLEARLY in that posting is what that 14% would mean for Q4. It is not a posting about a forecast for Q4 it is THE REVIEW OF Q3. Don't do that.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


I had forecasted 14% for iPhone for 2014, they seem to be headed in that 14.8% to 15.1% range of IDC and Strategy Analytics counts, Canalys may come closer to SA than IDC if recent patterns hold. So now that iPhone did about 1% better than I expected and my long term forecast said - wait, I gotta go see just to be sure nobody starts to quote my words at me haha - yeah 12% for 2015 - then yeah, that number will come up a bit (probably).

The reason I am not now publishing any new number, is that it would be supremely silly to make a forecast just before several vital numbers come out (total market size, several of the players). The Apple performance is not happening in isolation, it is a dynamic competitive environment so I will want to see what the whole industry and its players did in the just-ended period, and then make my judgements about 2015. But as iPhone went a bit above what I expected for 2014, then logically my next iteration of the forecast for 2015 is likely to go up, not down haha..

Tomi Ahonen :-)


If we take the total market share of mobile phones, and not just smartphones. Over the year.

What is the average industry growth?

What are individual supplier's growth?

I have started looking around, but there are many conflicting sources. I've found numbers from 2008-2010 and 2013-2014. Did an average of those. Some numbers found in this blog, some at Gartner's site. These are the top 5.


From 2008 to 2014, market share has gone from 1,2% to 9%. An increase of 650%.

From 2013 to 2014, market share has gone from 8% to 9%. An increase of 12,5%


From 2008 to 2014, market share has gone from 16,3% to 19%. An increase of 16,5%

From 2013 to 2014, market share has gone from 20% to 19%. A decrease of 5%.


From 2008 to 2014, market share has gone from 8,4% to 8%. A decrease of almost 5%.

From 2013 to 2014, market share has gone from 9% to 8%. A decrease of 11%.

Lenovo/Motorola (I had to combine these, don't know it that's the right way to do it):

From 2008 to 2014, market share has gone from 8,7% to 5%. A decrease of 41%

From 2013 to 2014, market share has gone from 4% to 5%. An increase of 25%.


From 2008 to 2014, market share has gone from 38,6% to 10%. A decrease of 74%

From 2013 to 2014, market share has gone from 14% to 10%. A decrease of 28%.

So ...

What is the average industry growth 2008 to 2014? How would I calculate that?

The basic conclusion from looking at the numbers for total market share growth and not just smartphones, would be that Apple is the only supplier with consistent growth, at a rate that is bigger than most of their rivals, except for Lenovo/Motorola, if we only look at the last year.

If we look at a longer period, then Apple is performing consistently better than their competitors.

This conclusion seems to be at odds with Tomi's assessment of Apples lack of growth, so either I'm probably adding things up in the wrong way, or looking at total market share paints a very different picture than looking at just smarthphone market share.


Tomi T Ahonen

BTW all in this thread. I can't believe KPOM suckered me into so many responses on his silly tantrum against mathematics. I will now stop his silliness. We've wasted gosh how many comments and time on the utterly silly position he took, that while ALL of my actual material numerical forecasts were essentially perfect, he bitches about my methodology that somehow my reasoning is wrong. Who cares why iPhone didn't hit its past records for Q4 market share. Maybe it was smuggled iPhones from the Foxconn factory or maybe it was that Appleistas have started to 3D print their own iPhones, or maybe it was a UFO landing in KPOM's backyard. The facts are that I called it, record-breaking unit sales, record-breaking revenues, record-breaking profits, global iPhone hysteria in the press, and yet annual market share is down, and the Q4 market share did not match far less exceed recent best Q4 performances. Totally right on all of those. And on the annual market share, on a foreacast I gave in July - I was off by one percentage (possibly less than that haha by IDC's count I was off only by 0.8%)

So KPOM will give us his forecast of whether iPhone increases or decreases market share in 2015 (or stays flat). That is KPOM's next contribution to this blog, he is otherwise suspended until that answer is delivered. He wasted far too much of our time with that nonsense.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Ok I removed KPOM's silly arguments against mathematics and his little tirades.

KPOM you are not blocked from the blog. But I will next only accept one response from you. You will answer the question 'will iPhone market share go up, stay the same, or decline' globally from 2014 to 2015 - with only that answer and nothing else in the posting, into this thread. After you have posted that reply, you can resume posting to this blo. That was a hideous waste of my time and the time of our readers on this blog. So its your move, and please... [very broad grin] take your time

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Apple sold more iPhones in Q4 2014 than I have thought, the upwards spike is bigger.

But the question is _WHY_ this has happened.

A lot of people here seem to think that Apple sold as much because the product is so good and Apple has become more competitive.

I think this is because of the following 2 reasons:

- Lots of Apple customers waited for a bigger phone. As soon as this was available, they bought it
- Some Android users only used Android because for them, Apple's old iPhones were too small. As soon as Apple was competitive regarding screen size, they switched (back?) to Apple

If this is true, this quarter is a one-time-effect. It will be hard for Apple to repeat this success.

So let's see how Apple will fare in the next few quarters, then we'll be able to see the long term trend. I think tham Tomi is right here, Apple's market share will shrink further.



I don't get you.

Clearly Tomi told you that his focus has been on full year 2014 and not on a single quarter. Can't you see this happening? You should now focus on the future sales instead of trying to make something out of that. Tomi has already said that he will probably forecast more market share for Apple in 2015 than he previously did but talking even about that is premature since he has not updated his estimate and will not do that until we get more numbers.

Another matter is that Tomi obviously underestimated the desirability of iPhone 6 since Apple sold 20-25% more than he thought it would have been selling during the Christmas quarter. Of course Tomi could be a good sport and say that iPhone 6 was selling much better than expected but that's also really irrelevant.

What's relevant then? That's the future sales of iPhone. Will Apple be able to maintain the growth QoQ or YoY? That's the relevant part and I haven't seen you commenting on that. if you think Apple managed to pull a miracle, why are you not giving estimates of the future sales? That's what matters. Was the last quarter an one time event or has Apple been able to change the trend.

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