Smartphone Market Share Is Not a Metric

Ben Evans:

There was a point in time where talking about share of smartphone sales was a meaningful and important metric. That time has passed. It’s rather like talking about Toyota’s share of sales of Japanese cars in the USA: it tells you something, and was very useful in the past, but not any more.

There are lots of issues and questions about Apple’s future, and lots of different things going on in those charts, including a clear decline in the growth of sales. But ‘smartphone share’ is not a helpful way to think about those questions.

I’ve been arguing this for years. It should have been clear to everyone as early as 2008 that soon, all mobile phones will be “smartphones”. Market share in and of itself is overrated as a primary metric — it matters, to be sure, but not as much as most observers seem to think — but what matters for the iPhone is its share of the overall mobile phone market, not its share of the “smartphone” market.

An analogy, inspired by all the recent 30th anniversary of the Mac nostalgia: what mattered for the Mac was its share of the PC market, not its share of the “GUI PC” market. It took a decade or so, but eventually all PCs were GUI PCs. That’s what we’re seeing with phones.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014