More From Charles Arthur on Smartphone Market Share Numbers

Charles Arthur:

The conclusion? As before - don’t put your belief in market share numbers. When Nokia had a 63% market share of smartphones (back in the third quarter of 2007), the entire smartphone market comprised just 17m handsets for the quarter. These days, you’d get that many Android handsets sold in a week. The reality is that the only people to whom market share matters is the people who sell the stuff, and they’re probably more focussed on total numbers - and profitability.

Truly remarkable, clarifying analysis. Arthur has just been killing it on “market share”. In the above quoted bit, he touches on something that I think has largely gone right over most industry watchers’ heads: that smartphone share numbers, expressed as a percentage, don’t tell the story in a market where in 2007 smartphones constituted only a sliver of the overall phone market and just six years later now account for a majority of the market. All phones will soon be smartphones.

Phone market share, period, has always been the number to watch. There’s a natural cap on the size of the phone market: the number of people on the planet. Apple has always had their eye on the ball here — seven years ago (today, in fact) at the iPhone introduction at Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs’s stated goal was one percent of the phone market, not some percentage of the “smartphone” market.

Thursday, 9 January 2014