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Samsung to topple Nokia from top of smartphone pile this quarter

14 июня 2011

Nokia is likely to be knocked from its perch as the world's biggest maker of smartphones this quarter, overtaken in market share terms by both Samsung, according to Nomura, which on Monday raised its forecast for handset market growth in full-year 2011.

"After about 14 years at the top, Nokia looks set to relinquish its smartphone crown to Samsung and Apple," the financial services firm predicted. Its forecasts show Samsung selling 19 million smartphone units this quarter to Nokia's 19 million. In Q3 Nomura predicts Nokia's 19 million unit sales will be eclipsed both by Samsung on 25 million and Apple on 20 million.

"We forecast that Nokia will continue to weaken relative to these two names and could even be overtaken by HTC by late 2012," Nomura added. Its forecasts show HTC recording 73 million smartphone sales in 2012 as a whole - up from 50 million this year - compared to Nokia's 74 million.

Samsung and HTC form part of a wider group of Asian vendors that have outperformed Nomura's already lofty expectations so far this year.

"We maintain our view that Asia will increasingly drive smartphone growth and that Asian vendors are best position to take advantage of the overall growth opportunity," Nomura analysts said.

In addition to the region's large smartphone makers – HTC, LG and Samsung all feature in the global top eight – its smaller manufacturers are also seeing strong growth.

Vendors outside the top eight increased their share of the global smartphone market to almost 12% collectively in the first quarter of this year, up from 6% in Q2 2010. "These vendors are largely Asian and primarily using Android to push into the low and mid-range smartphone markets," Nomura said.

In many cases these smaller vendors are producing high-quality products, backed by strong brands and customer service, Nomura said. "The net result is that smaller Asian vendors are proving surprisingly competitive with major international vendors, are driving smartphone adoption at lower price points, and could fragment the overall market."

This in turn could have a negative impact on the margins the bigger players are currently reporting.

"Apple, RIM, Samsung and HTC are enjoying smartphone operating margins in the high teens to 20% range. Even ZTE and Huawei appear to be enjoying 30% or so gross margins (we believe) for smartphones, healthily above many developed brands. Such sustained profitability by so many vendors is rare in the history of the handset market and seems unsustainable in the long term," Nomura said.

In addition, with restricted access to components easing, even taking into account the impact of the Japanese earthquake, pricing could become more aggressive. "This could see margins contract to more normalised levels of around 10% for the industry as a whole," Nomura predicted.

Nomura on Monday raised its growth forecast for the total global handset market in 2011 by one percentage point to 15%, its smallest upgrade in two years. It now expects 1.83 billion handset unit sales this year, of which 478 million will be smartphones. Asia-Pacific will continue to be the largest regional market with 937 million phones sold, of which 148 million will be smartphones.

The firm cut its full-year Smartphone unit shipment forecast for Nokia by a sizeable 25% to 81 million devices. Fellow European vendor also took a hit, its smartphone sales forecast dropping by 18% to just 19 million units.

The future looks gloomy for Nokia, with Nomura not predicting an uptick any time soon.

"Market shares in mobile phones have swung greatly in prior years and so a comeback from Nokia is feasible," Nomura said in its latest handset market update report. "However, we see no evidence of a product-led turnaround and continue to see better opportunities among Asia vendors in particular."


Источник: Total Telecom

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