Market Monitor : Q1 2015 : Smartphone Brands Market Share By US Carriers

According to latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor quarterly tracker program, USA smartphone market crossed 40 million units at the end of Q1 2015 compared to 33 million units shipped in Q1 2014 last year.

  • The USA smartphone market grew a healthy 23% annually back to the 2011 levels
  • The demand was stimulated by accelerated replacement rates thanks to device installment + early upgrade plans and pent up demand for the new Apple iPhone 6 series
  • 9 out of 10 mobile phones shipped during the quarter were smartphones
  • More than 85% of the smartphones shipped were LTE capable
  • Apple was the top smartphone supplier by a wider margin with strong demand for its iPhones carried forward into first quarter coming from strong holiday season
  • One in three smartphones shipped in USA was an iPhone
  • Apple & Samsung together captured more than 60% of the total smartphone share and 70% of LTE smartphones share
  • Samsung smartphone share sin Q1 2015 was down 5% points compared to last year while LG almost doubled its smartphone share in USA market with greater shelf-share across all the carriers cementing its third spot in USA
  • LG, ZTE and TCL-Alcatel were the star performers growing faster than the market capturing share away from Samsung, Kyocera, Pantech and HTC during the quarter
  • ZTE was the number four smartphone brand closely followed by TCL-Alcatel as both the Chinese brands are carrier’s preferred low-cost manufacturers with strong traction in prepaid segment
  • In terms of in-carrier share for the brands, Apple dominated at all of the top four carriers capturing more than 40% of Verizon & AT&T’s smartphone shipments and more than a third of smartphone shipments at T-Mobile & Sprint respectively
  • T-Mobile (with MetroPCS) is now the second largest smartphone carrier buying more than 8 million units surpassing AT&T  and Sprint platforms.
  • Aggressive #Uncarrier tactics by T-Mobile continues to stimulate smartphone demand buying lot of phones from the suppliers during the quarter. However, we caution there might be some inventory at the end of Q1 2015 at T-Mobile
  • The growth in US smartphone market is good news for the overall industry as consumers are now buying more smartphones than last year, opens up opportunities for more brands such as OnePlus, Xiaomi, Lenovo, Meizu, Asus and others to make hay when the sun shines
  • In coming quarters, as carriers such as T-Mobile, AT&T promote more BYOD type subscribers, could stimulate open market unlocked devices sold through e-commerce channels. Players such as OnePlus, TCL-Alcatel have already launched smartphones with decent specs at highly affordable and competitive price points through open channels and we believe players such as Xiaomi also doing the same in future would drive smartphone growth
  • According to our latest Monthly Market Pulse report, the launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 Edge in US in April has been decent and the sell-through has been much better than the Galaxy S5 last year which will be an important factor to drive the growth and share for Samsung in Q2 2015.
  • But it remains to be seen if Samsung can sustain the initial momentum in April with upcoming LG G4 launch and the new iPhone launches in Q3 later this year

US Q1 2015 Smartphone Share By Carriers - Counterpoint Research.jpg

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Market Monitor : Q1 2015 : Handset & Smartphones India

According to the latest research from Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor service, for Q1 2015 (Jan-March), the overall India mobile phone market  declined of 3% Y/Y and Q/Q decline of 15%. However, the smartphone segment registered an Y/Y increase of 21% though Q/Q decline of 8%. Feature phone segment also saw a sharp decline with shipment volumes down 13% Y/Y and 19% Q/Q. This is the second consecutive quarter where total mobile phone shipments in India registered a decline.

The following are the key findings from the Counterpoint Research analysis of the competitive environment in India in 1Q 2015:

  • The overall India mobile phone market declined by 3% Y/Y and 15% sequentially on account of seasonality and low sell-in during the quarter
  • India remains the third largest smartphone market in the world and during 1Q 2015 shipped almost twice as many smartphones as shipped in Japan
  • Smartphone shipments saw a Y/Y increase of 21% and a Q/Q decline of 8%. Smartphones contributed close to 37% of the overall shipments in 1Q 2015
  • Samsung led the overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment during the quarter with market shares of 18.2% and 27.8% respectively
  • Samsung has used its distribution prowess to sell-in during the quarter as it executed aggressive smartphone launches during the quarter including the Tizen-based Z1
  • Micromax maintained the second position in both overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment, but it registered steep decline as the overall mobile phone shipments down 28% Q/Q and the smartphone shipments down 26% Q/Q
  • Micromax’s new brand Yureka with the launch of its first Cyanogen powered LTE smartphone Yu started off well, but will need more models across price-bands to match the scale of Xiaomi and Motorola – both of which remained aggressive introducing new models during the quarter
  • Continuing its momentum from Q4 2014, Intex retained its position among the top five vendors both in overall handset and smartphone rankings, capturing slightly under 9% of the overall market during the quarter. Demand for Intex products in the sub-$100 smartphone price band remains strong
  • Lava excluding its sub-brand Xolo was also among the top five vendors in both overall mobile phone and the smartphone segment. The Lava IRIS series, especially the X1 smartphone, did well to put Lava marginally ahead of Lenovo-Motorola and thereby capturing the market’s 4th position.
  • Lenovo** raced to fifth position, primarily due to acquisition of Motorola, together capturing almost 5% of the Indian smartphone market during the quarter.
  • Although Xiaomi smartphone shipments declined during the quarter the vendor managed to be among the leading 4G smartphone brands during the quarter, thanks to brisk sales of Mi Note 4G and Redmi 2 4G
  • Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhone shipments remained strong during the quarter thanks to its strong marketing push and enticing schemes such as buybacks and more. The Cupertino-based vendor is only a few thousand units short of achieving a land mark feat of crossing 1 million unit sales in the six months of its fiscal year since Oct 2014. An achievement that it took almost twelve months to manage in its last financial year.
  • Microsoft Lumia shipments however were not affected by the weaker seasonality factor and grew by almost 20% thanks to a solid performance by its mid-segment Lumia portfolio – especially the Lumia 535
  • India joins the countries in Europe like Italy, France and others where Microsoft Lumia traction is going strongly.
  • There has been significant push by Indian government for “Make in India”, and it seems like almost every of the top 10 mobile phone player has expressed their intentions toward setting up a manufacturing plant in India. However, we believe the real “Make in India” developments are still a good 12-18 months away due to the lack of component suppliers’ ecosystem. Players like Samsung & Micromax which are already assembling phones in India are well positioned to take advantage of early moves to local manufacturing as compared to other players


Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q1 2015 Report
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q1 2015 Report
** Lenovo (Includes Motorola) in Q1 2015 & Q4 2014 but not in Q1 2014

The comprehensive and in-depth Q1 2015 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at analyst [@] counterpointresearch . com for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.

Q1 2014: Apple's iPhone Mania Steadily Spreading Internationally

  • Apple announced its Jan-Mar quarter results for 2014 and while the results beat street expectations were inline with Counterpoint Research’s forecasts for the Q1 2014
  • Apple shipped a record 43.7 million iPhones during the quarter growing 17% annually and down 14% from the strong Dec quarter
  • Apple generated $26 billion of revenues by shipping these iPhones globally expanding distribution reach at key carriers globally. e.g. China Mobile. Revenues grew an impressive 14% YoY
  • Demand for Apple iPhone 5s remained healthy across subsidized markets during the quarter
  • Apple was successful in flushing out accumulated iPhone 5c inventory during the quarter running aggressive promotions in markets such as USA and Europe
  • However, there was a surprise uptick in demand for iPhone 4/4S across some emerging markets such as India, China and Latin America. Call it a “halo effect”
  • However this pulled down iPhone ASP to US$596  from US$613 in the same period last year
  • The iPhone shipments mix shifting towards higher growth international markets is a good sign for Apple as Apple has peaked out it share across its home market and few European developed markets with this portfolio
  • Counterpoint Market Pulse research estimates Apple continued to dominate the US$400+ premium phones segment during the quarter capturing a lion 60% share. We can call this is an “Apple Tier”

Q1 2014 - Premium Handset Segment - Apple Dominates

  • Apple sold 16.4 million iPads during the quarter down 16% annually which portrays tough competition in tablet space from Asian OEMs and fast-growing  phablet categories which will spark a need for Apple to launch a bigger screen iPhone SKU later this year
  • Another interesting thing about Q1 results were Apple generated three times more revenues through Accessories than iPod segment.  Smartphones & OTT streaming music services are eating mp3 players
  • Counterpoint also estimates, iTunes, services and software segment revenues will overtake Mac revenues later this year which signifies growing importance of scalable software and services trumping even premium hardware especially in this post-pc era

Market Monitor : Q4 2013 :: Handset & Smartphone Markets Landscape

Counterpoint Research team of Analysts have completed preliminary sizing of the global handset and smartphone market as few OEMs have already released their Q4 2013 performances. Following are our preliminary market share and rankings according to our quarterly Market Monitor service.

The key highlights of the quarterly performances so far include:


  • Handset shipments to reach close to half a billion units for the Q4 2013 quarter (Growth 1% YoY)
  • Smartphone shipments crossed 300 million units for the first time = The total smartphone shipped in entire 2010  (Growth 34% YoY.)
  • Demand across North America remained soft while markets such as India saw healthy demand.
  • Our Market Pulse data suggests healthy sell-out volumes for Apple, Nokia, LG but Samsung, ZTE and some others are showing signs of inventory build-up which could affect their Q1’13 performance


Overall Mobile Phones

Q4 2013 Handsets OEM Shipments Market ShareSource: Market Monitor 

  • Alcatel One Touch closing on in for the fourth spot in global mobile phone rankings. Almost tied at 4% share with Huawei & LG. It still has robust feature phone business and growing smartphone volumes unlike LG & Huawei, North America market growth the key.
  • Samsung almost peaking in the mobile phone market with flat annual growth and down sequentially from a peak. Feature phone volumes declining & smartphones under pressure
  • Nokia down 24% annually as feature phone volumes continue to slide due to Android onslaught in sub $100 segment & smartphones not offsetting the decline
  • Huawei about to peak in mobile phones as feature phones almost vanishing with gaining strong smartphone share in China, Latin America but postpaid markets growth softer
  • LG’s next target would be to cross 20 million per quarter mark, for that it needs to solve its weakening position in Asia, the high growth region


Counterpoint Research - Q4 2013 Global Smartphone OEM Share Main

Source: Market Monitor

  •  Samsung leads the pack shipping more smartphones than the next top three OEMs combined but growth is past peak as Apple is attacking in premium-tier and Chinese OEMs in low-tier segments
  • Apple registered highest ever iPhone shipments the overall marketshare dipped as Apple grew below the market average due to focus in a stagnant premium-tier. Apple still can expand its share in premium segment over the next three to four quarters capturing lion share of industry profits
  • Huawei maintained its third spot in global smartphone rankings with a flat marketshare. Moving up the tier increasing its ASP will be the key goal as well with its “affordable premium” strategy
  • LG was the fastest growing OEM among the top 5 smartphone brands as the L-series helped expand volumes and rising G-series high-to-premium tier improve its top-line
  • Nokia shipped 8.2 million Lumias but grew below the market average and the volumes were flat sequentially. The momentum has been slowed down due to absence of sub-$100, multi-SIM & killer premium smartphone models to succeed in important markets such as China & US respectively.

Top Mobile Devices Trends in 2014

Technologically speaking there has never been a dull year in mobile industry. Every year promises and brings in new technologies, disruptions, business models and lots of surprises and we hope 2014 will be another great year for mobile devices segment. Let’s see what we expect to happen in 2014.


Multiple Cores are fine but where is the Memory?

Dual Core processors will continue to dominate sub US$100 smartphones but the differentiation and competition in 2014 will shift to the point to see which vendor (Tier-1 or Tier 4) offers 512MB or 1GB RAM bundled at these price points first. This will unlock compatibility to upcoming platform updates and applications thus reducing fragmentation especially in Android & Windows Phone platforms. Quad-Core smartphones at sub-$100 retail price points will also be on the cards in second half of 2014. Watch out for likes of Lenovo, Samsung, Micromax and MediaTek in this space.

64 bit CPU is here but where are the apps?

Racing to get the 64-bit processors into the smartphones to win back mindshare will remain the hot topic but lack of applications written for 64 bit processing will make it an overserved feature until some OEM or platform vendors steps in to lead in 64 Bit app development (esp. For Android & after Google supports it in 2H 2014).

Watch out for likes of Apple, Qualcomm, Google, Intel and Microsoft in this segment.

LTE Phones reaching mass-market before the Networks

LTE phones which will reach mass-market (sub-US$150 retail) in mature LTE markets in 2014. OEMs will continue to supply LTE-ready phones (for scale) to newer markets and in the hands of consumers before even the LTE networks are live. LTE Device Installed base will be greater than LTE subscriber base and the trend will continue until the LTE plan pricing reaches mass market. China, USA will be the key market to drive this trend in 2014.

Additionally, many operators will leapfrog to LTE-A and hence the flurry of LTE cat-4 devices will start appearing in operator’s shelves.

Watch out for ZTE, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Samsung stimulating mass-market LTE market.

Sharper & Flexible – The New Glass

As Full HD (1080p) displays have gone mainstream at sub US$350 price-points, the battle shifts to getting either a 2K display or a Flexible display into the devices. Displays will remain the battleground for differentiation across price-bands in 2014 allowing OEM to either raise the price or reduce the price for a SKU. In the era of ‘size 0’ smartphones are trending the other way as consumers want bigger and bigger displays every time they are out for shopping their very personal device. Phablets and Tablets together are going to be US$170 Billion worth segments in 2014. Smartphones are achieving steady state towards 5-6 inch whereas tablets towards 7-8 inch formfactors. However, phablets are also poised to overtake tablets next year.

Watch out for LG, Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and Oppo to lead this trend in 2014

Imaging Kickstarts the Sub-Ecosystem wars, who will win it?

The camera resolution, OIS and low-light imaging wars have been reignited by Nokia, Sony and others in 2013 and the competition to differentiate will continue with Imaging as a key differentiator. The differentiation will come in the form of software behind the optics array imaging, 4K image and video capture, video editing on the go, image stabilization, Kinect style interactions etc. This will kickstart a whole new sub-ecosystem of already popular use-case in a mobile phone – Imaging.

Watch out for Nokia, Sony, Qualcomm & NVIDIA to dominate this space.

Wearables a segment ready for prime-time or  just forced down the consumers’ throat?

 Appcessories are great as they have revolutionized the different use-cases leveraging apps, sensors and will continue to take off in 2014 and expand across price-bands reaching mass-market.

But do consumers need or want wearables those have another display on it to interact with? Smart-wearables with displays such as smartwatches, glasses are stuck between functionality of appcessories and smartphones. For such smart-wearbles to take-off in 2014 or future years will need a whole new set of ecosystem initiated by a new set of intuitive interaction mechanisms, connectivity technologies, extraordinary battery design, specially designed applications, software and services.

 2014 won’t be the year of smartwatches or smartglasses unless OEMs fulfills the above criteria building a unique user-experience or these devices experience an iPhone moment to stimulate the demand. We see supply greater than demand as OEMs (forcefully) try to create a category out of it just to have these devices in portfolio and not being left out. Lots of work needs to be done for consumers to ‘want’ them.

Watch out for long tail of smaller startups such as Pebble, Vuzix, Omate, Misfit to players such as Epson, Symphony Teleca, Varta and bigger players such as Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Jawbone, Nissan and Sony.

Apple Captures Record 34 Percent of Japan Mobile Phone Sales in September

Despite a slow month of sales globally, Apple continued to double its market share in several of its major launch countries for its iPhone 5s & 5c in September 2013. This will help Apple end its traditionally weak third quarter on a relatively higher note.

According to Counterpoint Research, in one of the premium and important global markets, Japan, Apple’s share jumped to a record 34% during the month of September.

Figure 1: Apple’s Share1 in the Japanese Handset Market

 Counterpoint Research - Apple 34 Percent Share in Japan in Sep 2013


Source: Monthly Market Pulse September 2013
1 Mobile Phones Sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included
Commenting on this performance, Counterpoint’s Director Tom Kang notes, “This is the first time any handset brand has crossed the 30% mark during the last decade in Japan.”

Mr. Kang, further added, “Japan has always been a competitive market with more than ten handset brands being tightly controlled by the three major mobile operators, thus making it impossible for a single brand to capture a record one-third of the market. Even Sharp, after ruling the Japanese mobile handset market for almost 5 years had only reached 26% share during its peak. But Apple has surpassed this and it’s a noteworthy feat signifying the growing clout for the Cupertino manufacturer in this tough market”.

Counterpoint’s Director Neil Shah explained on how Apple achieved this feat, “Apple’s newly launched iPhone 5S became the bestselling phone of Japan in September generating almost half a million units in sales in just a few days. Apple mainly benefited from expanding its channels to Japan’s number one mobile operator NTT docomo and thus instantly gaining access to a base of more than 60 million mobile subscribers. It took Apple iPhone almost 5 years to hit Docomo’s shelves since the first iPhone launch in Japan in the summer of 2008.”

Mr. Shah, further added, “It will be interesting to see how iPhone performs at NTT docomo. It will test the operator’s 20 million+ strong Android subscriber base on how quickly they will jump ship for an iPhone after using an Android smartphone for 3 years. This will prove if Android has enough value proposition to truly lock-in its user base and conversely if Apple has enough brand equity to consistently chip away this seasoned Android user base.”

Japan’s mobile phone market looks completely different from few years ago as foreign brands are dominating and pushing the once leading domestic brands under the rock. Foreign brands such as Apple, Samsung, LG & others together now control almost half of the mobile handset market from less than a fifth of the market three years ago. Meanwhile, domestic vendors such as Fujitsu, Sharp and Sony are fighting extremely hard with Apple and within themselves to capture market share.

Apple is on the verge of replicating its dominance in Japan market similar to what it is enjoying in its home market USA. This is possible due to expanded distribution channels as well as commanding higher subsidies (selling power) for the iPhones in these operator driven premium mobile phone markets.



Our Monthly Market Pulse market share data is based on sell-through (sales) surveyed at major mass retailers, distributors across different markets by Counterpoint Research team plus sanity checked with demand side surveys & expert Analyst estimates.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm based out of Asia 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.

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Top 10 phones in August: Galaxy S4 sales drop but still leads the pack

Bestselling smartphones

Galaxy S4 Sales continue to slump but the long tail Galaxy range makes up for it

Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4 was the bestselling smartphone in August according to Counterpoint Research’s monthly model tracker. But sales are falling short of expectations as the sell-through dipped to 5 million unit level during the month. After hitting its peak in June with more than 7 million units a month, sell-through continues to decline. However, Samsung was the only major vendor which registered monthly growth in the historically slow season of August. The long tail of Galaxy branded Android smartphones such as Galaxy S4 mini, Galaxy S duos, Galaxy Fame, Galaxy Trend and others together were able to offset the dip in Galaxy S4  sales.

Premium smartphone (above US$400 wholesale) category sales are showing signs of stagnating growth as most of the sales in the premium segment are coming from replacement sales from existing smartphone users. But the overall smartphone market is still growing at the rate of 40~50% a year with major growth thus coming from burgeoning smartphone sales in the sub US$200 price segments”

September month sales are very important to shape the holiday season demand trajectory, a decisive moment distinguishing which phones are going to be top-sellers. Galaxy S4 sales might – pick-up again with special holiday pricing though we expect the flagship model to sell 80% more than its predecessor the Galaxy S3 from launch till year end, instead of our previous view of 100% more.


The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 might also have a better trajectory than its predecessor as it still is a highly differentiated offering with maturing second generation S Note features and Galaxy Gear smart watch bundle making it stand out from the competition.

Among the other bestsellers were the Apple iPhone 5 and quite a few feature phones from Nokia such as the Asha 501, Asha 205 and Nokia 105.

Top 10 models sold Globally in August 2013

Rank Brand Model

  1. Samsung Galaxy S4 International version
  2. Apple iPhone 5-16GB
  3. Apple iPhone 5-32GB
  4. Nokia Asha 501
  5. Samsung Galaxy Note II
  6. Samsung Galaxy S III mini
  7. Samsung Galaxy S III
  8. Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini I9190
  9. Nokia Asha 205
  10. Nokia 105

Source: Monthly Market Pulse August 2013


Analyst Contacts:

Peter Richardson

+44 20 3239 6411


 Neil Shah

+91 22 2537 4784


 Tom Kang

+82 10 2874 8133


Counterpoint Research

+852 8191 4813


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