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Home >> Outlook For 2013 Smartphone Sales Mixed
TWICE: What is your forecast for 2013 U.S. smartphone shipments, and what will drive sales?
Waiman Lam, ZTE: We estimate moderate growth in smartphone shipments in the U.S. in 2013 compared to 2012. We continue to see this growth driven by the network maturity of 4G, bigger and better screen quality, and feature phone replacement. Factors to consider that can potentially slow down the growth rate are the saturation of smartphones and fewer subsidies by operators going forward.
Chris Walls, Huawei: Smartphone shipments will very likely be flat for 2013. It appears that LTE smartphone sales are actually higher than most expected. A rich portfolio of LTE devices that cover all price tiers is greatly helping sales momentum. The implementation of new operator business models is something to watch closely. Where device sales by price tier were much more evenly distributed a handful of years ago, carrier subsidies have led to a polarization at the entry and premium tier. The implementation of unsubsidized models by just a few carriers would negatively impact premium smartphone sales as well as help to reestablish the mid-tier of the market.
Steve Cistulli, Alcatel One Touch: According to IDC, vendors will ship a total of 137.5 million smartphones into the United States in 2013, up 14.5 percent from the 120.1 million units shipped in 2012. We expect for our business to continue increasing faster than the industry trend, leveraging the brand’s unique offering of stylish high-performing devices at affordable prices. We will be introducing in the second half of the year our first 4G LTE smartphones as well as 5-inch super phones.
Nick DiCarlo, Samsung Telecommunications America: Samsung Mobile works to create a comprehensive product portfolio that gives consumers a choice of size, price and utility at home, at work, on the go or all three. Samsung Mobile devices are designed to meet the needs of every consumer – from tech enthusiasts to first-time smartphone users, professionals in the boardroom and parents on the soccer field.
Georg Rasinksi, LG Mobile: As you may know, smartphone sales for our mobile communications unit have seen nearly 30 percent year-over-year growth compared to Q1 2012, and as reported at the end of Q1 this year, we have shipped more than 10.3 million smartphones. We expect this growth to continue as a result of powerful, cutting-edge products like the LG Optimus G Nexus 4, LG Optimus G Pro, and their unique user experiences.
TWICE: Which end-user price-point segments, or specific features, will show the strongest growth in demand in 2013?
Lam: Hardware features and enhancements such as higher resolution with bigger screen size, ability to multi-task, and longer battery life are some of the key features we believe will stand out. While price points are always hard to predict, we think today’s end users are looking for smartphones that have some of the aforementioned features in a reasonable price range.
Cistulli: As smartphone adoption increases, devices or brands that have high marks in value and dependability will have the biggest growth opportunity. ABI Research predicts that low-cost sub-$250 [unlocked end-user price] smartphones will account for 46 percent of global smartphone shipments by 2018, up from 28 percent in 2012. Price does matter to U.S. smartphone buyers more now than ever before, and that trend isn’t likely to change. The sub-$250 segment is the fastestgrowing segment in the U.S. smartphone market, and Alcatel One Touch is focused in 2013 exclusively on that segment with a full range of smartphones from entry smartphones to advanced quadcore 5-inch smartphones.
For 2013, the Alcatel One Touch mission is to bring great-quality technology to price-conscious end users. This isn’t about being just the lowest priced.
DiCarlo: Consumers are looking for a comprehensive smartphone experience rather than one specific feature, but each person’s wants and needs in a smartphone differ, so the key is to create the most simplified, yet comprehensive and customizable smartphone experience. Samsung Mobile innovates to answer the needs of a variety of consumers with one device. This guiding principle ensures that each of our devices deliver on unique needs of the individual in addition to extending their expectations of what a smartphone can and should do. One person might purchase the Galaxy S 4 for the 5-inch FullHD Super AMOLED screen or the 1.9GHz quad-core processor, but another person might buy the same smartphone because Easy Mode is an easy segue into the smartphone experience.
Mobile technology is constantly evolving, and it would be a mistake to innovate based on the needs of one audience. Creating a variety of devices with multiple options for customizing the features and functionality is the very thing that creates demand and has led to Samsung’s recent success.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.