Top 10 Smartphones sold Globally During Sep 2014

Apple’s iPhone 6 immediately rose to the top of the list during September despite the fact that it was only available after September 19th. The iPhone 6 narrowly beat Samsung’s Galaxy 5 with just a 17% difference in sales numbers.
Samsung’s Galaxy S5 has been the first runner up consistently for over 5 months. It was almost about to beat the year old iPhone 5S but then this month, the iPhone 6 has come storming in. It will be hard to change the downward trend of the Galaxy S5 as the price is already quite moderate compared to the price erosion curve of previous models like the Galaxy S4 and S3. Samsung’s Note III and Galaxy S4 are also int eh top 10 list. But it Apple which has the most.

Xiaomi has two models in the top 10 list, the Mi 3 and Redmi Note. The long time bestseller Redmi 1S is just outside the list as it has proved to be a hit in its newly entered markets such as India. With the Mi 4 slowly growing in volume it looks like Xiaomi has enough fuel to last till the year end of 2014.

Motorola’s Moto G has entered the top 10 list for the first time as it has been a bestseller in every major Emerging Market. It is close to the end of its life cycle. So it will be interesting to see if its successors will have similar popularity.

Just outside the top 10 is the LG G3 which has been the hero for LG helping it return to profitability in the third quarter of 2014. Huawei’s Honor 6 and P7 are also contenders as well as the Galaxy S5 mini.

Top 10 smartphone* list for Sep 2014
Rank Brand Model Category
1 Apple iPhone 6 smartphone
2 Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone
3 Apple iPhone 5S smartphone
4 Samsung Note 3 smartphone
5 Apple iPhone 6 Plus smartphone
6 Xiaomi Mi 3 smartphone
7 Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone
8 Xiaomi Redmi Note smartphone
9 Apple iPhone 5C smartphone
10 Motorola Moto G smartphone

(table source: Monthly Market Pulse September 2014)

* Mobile Phone sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included. All regional or minor hardware variations included in each model.

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high tech industry.

Top 10 Smartphones in May 2014 – Galaxy S5 Fails To Displace iPhone 5s

Apple’s iPhone 5s is still the bestselling smartphone in May 2014, 8 months after its launch last year. Samsung’s new flagship, Galaxy S5 comes in at second.

According to Counterpoint’s channel survey across 35 countries, Apple’s iPhone 5s continues to be the bestselling phone in the world, a spot that many expected to be taken by Samsung’s Galaxy S 5. The highly anticipated Galaxy S5 comes in at second place but still a quite distant number two in terms of (sell through) unit sales. The iPhone 5c shipments continue to decline but Apple continued clearing excess inventory for the iPhone 5c during the month. apple iPhone 5c sales put it behing Samsung’s last year’s flagship Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note III.

Xiaomi continues to maintain its position in our top 10 bestsellers list with strong performance in domestic market. The MI3, Hongmi Red Rice and Redmi Note are now available in many overseas markets with Xiaomi’s expanding distribution to cotribute to global sales volumes. But within China, the two models (Mi3 and Redmi) are reaching peak and ‘me-too’ competitors are pushing out similar high-specced products at aggressive price-points. A product refresh beckons in coming months from one of the most talked about Chinese brand.

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 mini stood at 8th and the Galaxy Grand 2 which was released last year captured the 10th spot. The Grand 2 is a more affordable phablet from Samsung with a display size of 5.25″. There are now 3 phablets in the top 10 list which reflects the ongoing trend of larger displays. almost 40% of the smartphones sold in May were phablets according to Counterpoint’s channel research across 35 countries. If Apple comes out with a phablet later this year it will instantly become a hit and top the list of phablets within two months of availability.

Outside of the top 10 list Sony’s Xperia Z1 came in close. Motorola’s Moto G along with Huawei’s Honor 3C and LG’s G2 made into the top 20 list. Next month we expect to see the Nokia X in the ranks of bestsellers as it is moving up fast after just two months of sales.

Top 10 Smartphone* List of May 2014
Rank Brand Model Category
1 Apple iPhone 5s smartphone
2 Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone
3 Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone
4 Samsung Note 3 smartphone
5 Apple iPhone 5c smartphone
6 Apple iPhone 4S smartphone
7 Xiaomi MI3 smartphone
8 Samsung Galaxy S4 mini smartphone
9 Xiaomi Hongmi Redrice smartphone
10 Samsung Galaxy Grand 2 smartphone

(table source: Monthly Market Pulse May 2014)
* Mobile Phone sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included. All regional or minor hardware variations included in each model.

For more information and/or to purchase a copy of the report please send an email to:


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high tech industry.

MWC 2014: An Event it was

MWC 2014 Overview

This year’s Mobile World Congress held in Barcelona, provided the industry with the next iteration of smart, cheap and technologically advanced smartphones. The impact of slowing demand colliding with the industry’s increasing ability to supply is leading to ever more fierce competition. Low cost Android-based products were widely in evidence. With such a high degree of commoditization two things become increasingly evident:

1. Differentiation is critical to stand out from the crowd, and

2. Not all will survive.

The major vendors are working hard to create this differentiation – plying consumers with complimentary wearable devices as well as larger form factor devices. Here’s our top of mind observations from MWC 2014. For a more in depth analysis, please give us a call or contact us via email.

Exploring New Areas:


Nokia launched a big and potentially disruptive rock into the Android pond with its launch of a series of Android Open Source Project (AOSP) devices. Nokia remains the world’s largest feature phone manufacturer and is also leading the Windows Phone insurrection with its Lumia sub-brand. Nokia is also in the final stages of being acquired by Microsoft. Nevertheless Nokia is boldly launching boldly colored low cost smartphones based on the Android open source foundation. The clever part is that they’re tearing out the Google GMS services and are replacing them with Microsoft’s own services (and some Nokia ones e.g. Here). Nokia has also created a quasi-Windows Phone UI look and feel. The offering will initially be comprised of three smartphones: Nokia X, X+ and XL. All phones have 4 inch LCD display (5 inch for the XL), 4GB internal storage and good quality cameras. Qualcomm provides the processor with all based on the Snapdragon 400. To lure the customers, Nokia will provide 1-month free of Skype Premium for every Nokia X-family customer. Users will also get 10GB of free storage to the Microsoft OneDrive cloud service for storage. The X-series, while not cheap compared to some Android offerings, are cost effective, priced in the range of USD 115 to USD 140.

Cheaper LTE smartphones and cheapest smartphone:

Nokia’s new X-Series joined a slew of unremarkable and largely indistinguishable low cost Android smartphones that were everywhere at the event. In among them though there were some notable and interesting developments:

  • Mozilla is stepping up its efforts to penetrate the smartphone sector with its Firefox OS. It showed off a Spreadtrum-based reference design that it claims can be built into devices priced at USD 25. When realized this will significantly undercut current and projected Android-based devices. However Firefox-based smartphones are also moving up the price curve.
  • Alcatel OneTouch launched Fire S, a Firefox smartphone with a quad-core processor and LTE network support taking Firefox based Open web devices up the price-tiers alongside the cheaper Fire E and Fire C launches.
  • Huawei also joined the party launching its first dual core Firefox OS device. Operators from a number of emerging markets have expressed interest in offering the Firefox OS devices to move the huge installed base of cellular voice users to data plans.
  • Other noticeable smartphone displayed at MWC and lost among the shiny Samsung Galaxy S5 launch was the  Samsung Galaxy Core LTE which is one of the most affordable cat-4 LTE smartphone by Samsung. It is powered by the new turnkey LTE platform M320 from Broadcom which will be a one of the key volume drivers for Samsung in LTE smartphone wars this year.
  • Our team also observed series of sub $200 retail low-cost LTE smartphone offerings from long tail of Chinese brands from Alcatel One Touch (TCL), Wiko (Tino), Gionee and others which will catalyze the China LTE boom in the second half of 2014 and later.

Advanced Handset features:

Gionee Elife S5.5 (Source: NDTV Gadgets)

While Samsung attracted a lot of media interest with its razzy Galaxy S5 launch, some of the smaller OEMs, like Gionee are also trying to break out from the crowd with surprisingly attractive products. Gionee launched Elife S5.5 smartphone, claimed to be the slimmest smartphone ever at 5.5mm. Also, it includes 13-megapixel rear camera with the world’s first 95 degree ultra-wide angle and 5-megapixel front camera, 5 inch of display and available in various colors.

Wearables – taking center stage:

Samsung Gear Neo (Source: Smasung Website)

Similar to CES 2014 hosted in Las Vegas, wearables made their mark at MWC 2014. Samsung launched Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit, three devices that make up for several shortcomings in the original Galaxy Gear running Tizen and were in many ways the highlight of the Galaxy S5 launch – a product which while brilliant, doesn’t move the bar set by the Galaxy S4 up very much. Aside from Samsung’s gear there were many new wearables on display including an Apple-ready hearing aid and associated smartphone app system from Resound Linx. A fitness band from Sony called the SmartBand, which monitors sleep patterns and notifies the user with updates from social media. Similarly, Chinese OEM Huawei launched TalkBand B1 which is a combination of a fitness tracker and Bluetooth headset; it can be used for making calls, as well as the usual applications of tracking step counts and activity levels.

Despite the number and variety of wearables on display, we can’t help feeling that this segment has yet to find its vocation.

Moto G : Motorola's Emerging Markets Play With Google At Heart

After almost a couple of years of efforts to revive the once popular “Razr” brand again (but  in the smartphone space) with limited success, Motorola the device company, was on the verge of a complete overhaul to survive in this cut-throat smartphone market. And all commenced with the launch of new colorful and customizable Moto X this summer infused with rejuvenated marketing, attitude and portfolio. What we saw with Moto X was Motorola trying to differentiate by focusing more on user experience finding  solutions to various pain points maybe by offering more options to customize the phone to nuances like touchless gesture control leveraging its hardware expertise while growing further on embedded software engineering curve. I have been testing Moto X for couple of months now and pretty satisfied with the usability, features and buttery experience on the device.

The new flagship device hardly left the US shores and also didn’t make any dents in the competition but we believe Moto X is a step in good direction to see a “revived” Motorola. Our Monthly Market Pulse service estimates Moto X sell-out was roughly less than 500k units till end of October since launch in late August 2013. If Motorola can increase its reach in coming months with aggressive holiday season pricing and some marketing dollars influx (maybe from Google) could capture share away from likes of LG, HTC, Huawei, etc. But is this enough to become (again) a global company once Mototola was? No, and we think Motorola also understands that.

Moto Portfolio X & G

Realizing this, Motorola yesterday announced the new smartphone,  Moto G,  broadening the “Moto” portfolio positioning it for the prepaid emerging markets,. The superphone in terms of hardware specifications sports a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1GB of RAM, 3G radios and a bigger 4.5 inch 720p HD display all starting at an exceptional unsubsidized unlocked retail price of US$179. Moving down the price-bands should help Motorola expand reach in emerging markets.

Moto G is “the killer” semi-premium type device which industry was hoping Apple would launch in terms of “iPhone 5C or iPhone Mini” to disrupt the emerging markets but Motorola (now a Google company) has taken the first plunge. We believe, Motorola is slowly moving towards a narrower portfolio (like iPhone) to maintain scale, unified design and offerings unlike its earlier broader portfolio of SKUs.

This (extremely low) pricing strategy for a high-price band specced device depicts that Motorola is no longer a device manufacturer at heart and its parent Google has started to heavily influence the overall Motorola’s strategy. In addition to the ‘Nexus’ line, Google now thus has ‘Moto‘ portfolio in its arsenal to get maximum higher specced device in hands of emerging markets consumers at lower price-points and multiply its (directly controlled) installed base. Motorola’s core business model and strategy has now started to align closely with that of Google’s, its all about reach, Google experience and eyeballs.  

However, to succeed in emerging markets such as Latin America, India and others distribution reach is the key in addition to a good brand, product and marketing muscle. Over the last few years, Motorola has done exactly opposite i.e. shrunk its global reach compared to what it enjoyed during the Razr mania times. Motorola will have to work actively smart and lean to expand its reach to gets it disruptively priced (but low profit) Moto G into the hands of consumers & maintain healthy balance sheet. Google’s ($$) contribution will be of utmost importance as the Motorola’s operating losses have continued to widen over the last few quarters.

It remains to be seen whether operators in prepaid markets of Europe warm to Moto G which could be a killer device to help them increase smartphone subscribers and hence data ARPU. However, there is a big question mark on Motorola’s China strategy as the vendor’s market share in the world’s largest smartphone market has hit an all-time low according to our latest Market Monitor Q3 2013 report. In Latin America, though Motorola should be able to compete well against Samsung, LG and Alcatel-TCL with $179 price tag and comparatively stronger brand equity.

In summary, Motorola moves ahead expanding  “Moto” portfolio across price-bands and geographies but with a renewed goal & strategy closely aligned to that of Google’s. Finally, Motorola is now a Google company.

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