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October 19, 2017


Wayne Borean

Hmm. I wonder why the handset market is heating up?


Probably because phones with big beezles look outdated now, so people want a replacement :-)


My guess, too.


@Wayne Borean
"I wonder why the handset market is heating up?"

World economy growth is picking up.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne (thanks Piot)

No, there is no 'heating up' of the market. This is in stable stage now, slight annual growth in overall market and gradual transition from dumb to smart. BUT the brief drop in sales due to the international economy has passed and we're back to modest growth. There is no heating up.

Thanks Piot also for pointing it out.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Piot

Wrong causality. My numbers (for smartphone migration rate) came out first. So they are finding numbers similar to mine not that I took their numbers. Check the timing :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Jim Glue

Is anything changing as these last people get smartphones? For example, my elderly mother still uses a regular mobile phone. She doesn't text. She probably doesn't know how to listen to her voice mails. She makes and receives calls.

There are exactly 2 models of non-smart phone she can buy from her carrier. One is $50, one is $180. She bought the $50 one and is making due without an ear piece (ugh!)

She may not have a dumbphone option the next time she buys a phone. If she buys a smartphone, she will not use anything smart about it. She will not text. She will not facebook (on a small screen phone, she has a tablet). She will not pay for a data plan. She will be quite unhappy to have to charge the smartphone a lot more often than she does her dumb phone.

Just wondering what is going to change when that last 20% is forced to get a smartphone because there is no other choice?

Abdul Muis

The phone ASP in china, emerging Asia, Europe were going up...

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Jim

Great question. There probably are some in that group who currently don't own a smartphone, who do own a basic phone, who will 'never' do other things than phone calls. This is probably a very small group out of that, but their behavior migration will be slow. You can see some signs of how long it took many in their peer group to accept SMS text messaging, the use of the camera and yes, Facebook on their phones.

One of the drivers to the mobile internet is money. Mobile banking, paying bills and eventually 'having' to use a mobile phone to buy or pay something like a bus ticket or airline ticket or whatever - that will drive some who otherwise would never want to use a data service, to eventually adopt some of it.

The biggest driver by my own observations, has been the generation-skipping effect. Grandmothers and Grandfathers skip their own kids, but want to connect with their GRANDkids - and those will need Facebook or Instagram or Whatsapp or whatever for the grandparents to connect. Then the grandparents have a good motivation to change.

It is also true, as I observed one of my more old relatives recently join Facebook, that peer groups in that age group - are in stunning numbers NOT online and NOT on Facebook, even when it seems like everybody is. I don't mean 'not on FB on mobile.' Many of the peer group (these are retired-aged people - but note, in FINLAND) - surprisingly many were not on FB. I was utterly floored by that discovery. I had thought that the big reason the youth are abandoning FB is because it 'got too old' and therefore, I thought the retired gang had arrived - but even in a country as utterly digitally connected as Finland, not all retired people have been caught into FB even, far less FB on a mobile phone, or any of the more recent social media experiences starting even with YouTube and Whatsapp far less thinking about say Instagram or Twitter or Snapchat etc..

But to your point. I grant you, some will never come. I am certain the majority will go, some already are there and WISH to have a 'smart' phone so they can do their online stuff on the phone. And others will arrive there somewhat by accident, forced by their local banking needs or whatever; or because they suddenly notice that the only way to connect with the grandkids (or great-grandkids) generation is.. mobile. And they won't take a phone call haha.

As to heavy users, I doubt they'll be downloading tons of apps, spending hours in massively multiplayer games, or hunt AR creatures etc.. But sharing pictures and videos - gosh, older people have TONS of time and they can very well get quite addicted to the power of the camera on their newest phone..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis

@Jim Glue.

Your grandma can buy nokia 3310

Or buy cheapest iphone / hand me down iphone because thats what old people now get.

Or buy android phone that can be set as dumb phone for sms/phone only like the Lenovo note. The upside... In the 'dumb' mode, with 1 hour usage/day. it can have 14 days of uptime. Because wifi off, gps off, 5000mah battery

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul

WOW fabulous info. All readers, please go to the link Abdul gave. Its not just regional ASP's but it is REGIONAL UNIT SALES and they break down Asia into 3 parts - China, rich Asia, and rest-of-Asia. Great source. Thanks Abdul !!!

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis

Web traffic analysts DeviceAtlas compiled an extensive report on the smartphone usage in Q2 2017.

Qualcomm chips are the most popular in the Android world, according to the analysts. The San Diego company is a leader in developed markets like Japan, the US, the UK and Continental Europe. Developing markets like India, Egypt and Colombia have double-digit usage of MediaTek chips, and the Taiwanese vendor is leader with more than 35% in Nigeria.

An interesting statistic is the RAM trend. Although we already have more than a dozen 8GB RAM phones in the market, devices with just 500 MB memory are still widely used in Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, Brazil, Egypt and Argentina.

DeviceAtlas also analyzed the usage of dual SIM phones. More than two-thirds of the phones in India support two SIM cards while the USA is on the other side of the spectrum with only 4.1%.

According to the analysts, most prevalent phones are built in 2015 and devices from 2012 are still more popular than phones from 2017. Going in detail, Samsung Galaxy S7 (along with the Galaxy S7 edge) is currently the most used Android phone.

You can check out the full report by following the source link below - there plenty of other interesting numbers in there.
req to put email/name, but it won't check the validity of email (you can put any email address)

Tomi T Ahonen

(Thanks Abdul. great info again)

About the Gfk numbers. We can now construct a rough rule-of-thumb for the regional smartphone markets, of 32/20/12/12/12/12. 32% is China. 20% is rest of Asia-Pacific combined (ie Asia-Pacific has more than half of global smartphone market already).

Then the smaller part divides roughly into 12/12/12/12 Europe 12%, North America 12%, Middle East & Africa 12%, and Latin America 12%. While those numbers are not precise (range from 15% Europe to 8% LatAm) the DIRECTIONS are 'perfect' for harmonizing around 12% in near future, as W Europe is fastest-shrinking and Latin America fastest-growing among those four groups...

So if you want a quick rule of thumb, to memorize the rough sizes of global smartphone market, it is 30-20-12-12-12-12. China has a third of the world. Rest of Asia(Pacific) has one in five. And outside of Asia(Pacific) the rest of the world each part has roughly one in 8 smartphones sold, in Europe, in North America, in Middle East + Africa, and in Latin America.

Isn't it nice to have new numbers?

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


Now that is just silly! Did you READ what I wrote in 2014? Those forecasts for 2016 or 2017 are essentially ALL within about 10% of reality today !!!! - a VERY VERY good forecast for 3 years out. Do we need to go look at OTHER forecasts by say... Gartner from around that period?

That is just bonkers. Piot, did you NOTICE that the forecast period was UP TO YEAR 2020 and it HAS annual points for the path, including breakdowns for this year and last?

That is just you being silly...

But thanks for reminding my readers - please all DO go see what Tomi told you in 2014, and see if ANYONE else has a forecast of the future of smartphones AND dumbphones AND personal computers INCLUDING tablets, that is ANYWHERE near as good as mine was...

Piot, that was silly by you. You've been behaving reasonably, this is not you. I expect more of you than this

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"Just wondering what is going to change when that last 20% is forced to get a smartphone because there is no other choice?"

For several years now, European retailers and operators have included in their offering a few basic phones specifically targeting older people.

Typical features of those devices (in candybar or clamshell form factor) are (a) large keys (b) large fonts (c) loud speaker (d) quick-dial key with a predefined number to call for emergencies (e) simplified functions and menus.

Emporia is one of the most popular brands. I would be surprised (though admittedly only mildly so) to learn that such a choice is not available in the USA.

Phil W

Just a comment on FB. My parents are both 85, neither uses FB although my father uses the internet. My mother doesn't know how to use a computer and will have nothing to do with them. My father has a cheap android but only makes calls and SMS messages. He would not touch mobile banking or internet banking with a barge pole as he assumes he will get robbed! My mother won't use a mobile phone either. My wife also has a dumb phone and refuses to get a smartphone, but she does have a tablet. So I think there will be some resistance to dropping dumbphones completely.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Phil

And I hear you. I said some will never go. But imagine if your parents lived in say, Sweden, where you can't pay for your bus fare with cash. So you HAVE to get some way to pay digitally. It might THEN make sense to use a small token type of mobile wallet. Not 'mobile banking' but because you carry your phone with you anyway, and there is a convenient public transport mobile wallet - then that might change the mind of a person of that age - who uses public transportation. This would not be relevant to people who drive a car, like so many in the USA. Then again, cars? In Estonia you can't pay for your parking with cash anymore. Again... that MIGHT be the catalyst to get - not mobile banking per se - but the parking app, which actually SAVES you money and is way way WAY more convenient in cold rainy days, than trying to pay with any other way such as going to a parking automat to pay by credit card etc...

But as I said, not everybody will get there. I was absolutely certain that tech like MMS was far beyond my parents' age, until I saw my mom sending MMS pictures to her grandkids.. she didn't even ASK me to help her learn to do that, while I am the tech guy in the family. It was the grandkids who taught her and I was utterly caught by surprise.

You may be surprised. And as I said, some will never make that transition. The 'data' type of traffic and behavior of the last 20% to convert, will be TRIVIAL in volume, compared to the earliest 20%...

PS there was resistance to the last few abandoning ANY obsolete tech from the telegraph to the fax to carrier pidgeons... :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Abdul Muis

When the old generation who don't use the smartphone gone....
It will be replaced by the generation that only use smartphone.

Phil W

That's so true Abdul!

Abdul Muis

Samsung+Xiaomi+Vivo+Oppo+Lenovo = 75% of total shipment in India

India overtakes US to become second largest smartphone market

After a wobble in Q2 2017, India’s smartphone market recovered quickly, with shipments growing 23% year on year in Q3 2017 to reach just over 40 million units. India has now overtaken the United States to become the world’s second largest smartphone market after China. Samsung and Xiaomi, which shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively, accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in Q3 2017.

“This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result,” said Canalys Research Analyst Ishan Dutt. “There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.”

Despite posting excellent results, the market continues to concentrate, with the top five vendors (Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo) now accounting for 75% of total shipments in India. Samsung shipped 9.4 million smartphones, almost 30% more than in Q3 last year. Second-placed Xiaomi increased shipments by over 290% to 9.2 million units. “Xiaomi’s growth is a clear example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads,” said Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi. “But Xiaomi focuses on the low end. It struggles in the mid-range (devices priced between INR15,000 and INR20,000 [US$230 and US$310]), where Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are particularly strong. Nevertheless, we predict Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.”

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