Carriers, Wireless Specialists Maintain Commanding Share Of Wireless Sales
By Joseph Palenchar On Dec 17 2001 - 8:00am
Carrier-owned stores and wireless specialty retailers maintained a commanding share of the wireless-phone market for the 12 months through September, with carriers' monthly share ranging from a low of 66.7 percent to a high of 72.1 percent, NPD INTELECT Market Research shows.
The statistics exclude business-to-business sales.
NPD's research also found that:
Carrier competition heated up in March through September, when AT&T Wireless, Cingular, and Verizon regularly traded places for top share of new-subscriber activations. During the previous five months, Verizon was on top.
The most popular type of rate plan was a single-rate plan with a fixed bucket of minutes, followed by one-rate plans with unlimited minutes. Prepaid share ranged month to month from a low of 6.6 percent to a high of 13.7 percent.
NPD Intelect developed its data in part through its point-of-sale tracking service, which culls actual monthly sales data from more than 140 retailers representing more than 10,000 storefronts. To these figures, NPD added consumer-survey data obtained monthly through an on-line consumer panel consisting of more than 700,000 prescreened households.
NPD then calibrated and projected the data to provide market information on the entire U.S. consumer market, excluding business-to-business sales.
Here's what else NPD found in its survey:
Distribution-channel share: For the 12 months ending September, carrier-owned stores accounted for 70.3 percent of phones sold to consumers, followed by wireless specialty stores with 16.2 percent.
The share held by electronic specialty stores was only 3.4 percent. That distribution channel includes office and computer superstores. Mass merchants held a 1.9 percent share during the 12-month period.
Other consumer distribution channels accounted for 8.2 percent of phones sold during that time. Those channels include home shopping networks, direct mail, telemarketing, Web sites, and catalogs, including carriers' direct mail, telemarketing and online sales.
Sales share through electronics specialists didn't spike up much during the fourth quarter of last year, but share through mass merchants did, hitting 4.8 percent in December 2000, up from 2.1 percent and 1.5 percent in October and November 2000, respectively.
Carrier share: Carriers' relative market shares were remarkably stable from October 2000 through February 2001, when Verizon led the pack every month in activating new subscribers. During each of those months, the second-through-sixth-place rankings were held, respectively, by Cingular, AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, VoiceStream, Nextel and Alltel.
Then, in March 2001 market share began to change as often as the loyalties of Afghan war lords. Cingular shot up to first place in March and April, fell to second in May and third in June, shot back up to first in July, then went to third in August and second in September.
Verizon fell to second in March and April, went back up to the top spot in May and June, returned to second place for the following two months, and fell to third in September.
AT&T was third from October 2000 through May 2001, hit second, then third, and shot up to the top spot in August and September.
Sprint was a consistently fourth from October 2000 through August 2001, then moved up a notch to second in September.
Nextel was sixth every month but one during October 2000 through September 2001, and Alltel was always seventh.