Friday, December 14, 2012

Just released! Market shares: Q4 2017. The future history of the handset industry.

Apologies. Actually I don't really have the handset market shares for Q4 2017 here. But I always think it's a good idea to do some scenario planning. It's useful to think outside the pie chart blocks once in a while. Call it a mental exercise.

So please forget linear for a moment. Forget slightly curved trajectories or minor market modification models allowing for demographic adjustments. Don't think small changes. Think big chunky market surprises. Think consumer boredom followed by new entrants and extreme excitement. Think new business models, and perhaps even new form factors.

Before looking at the market of 2017, let's look back a bit, say 20 years before that. In 1997 Motorola had around 25% global market share followed by Nokia at 20% and Ericsson at 15% and Panasonic at 8%. Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson had been and continued to be the reliable big three for years.

Five years later, in 2002, the market looked very different. Nokia became the dominant global handset vendor with around 36% global share, Motorola dropped to a distant number two with 15% and Samsung reached number three with 10%. Siemens was close behind and had surpassed the recently formed Sony Ericsson. Note that only half of the top-ten handset vendors of 2002 still exist as stand-alone companies, some being bought, others just disappeared.

Many top names came and went over the years. Sharp, Siemens, BenQ, BenQ Siemens, Philips, Alcatel, Sagem, Kyocera, Sanyo, Sony, Ericsson, Sony Ericsson, Panasonic, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, NEC...

So, it's time to think new -- and old. Some fresh faces, some familiar. Some mergers. Some acquisitions. Of course I have no idea what the market will be like in five years, but experience tells me there will be bigger market changes than our minds will care to think about. So, here's my fun stab at the future of mobile market shares (all very unlikely, but do think just for a moment about how your company would need to adjust if changes this big were to take place):

So, it's time for the audience to fill in the blanks. Consider it weekend homework:


Jukka said...


Interesting post. The one truth in technology, is that no one rules supreme forever.

I wrote most of this post back in the Spring when Samsung unseated Nokia as the market leader in terms of volumes.


Peter Bryer: Mobile Foresighter said...

Thanks for the link Jukka. Interesting post.