Feature Article

July 29, 2014

Local Challengers Begin to Disrupt Apple and Samsung's Mobile Dominance

Normally, when we see quarterly reports, we can almost guarantee that the two names that we will see at the very top are Apple and Samsung. Whether it is the number of devices sold, or the operating system used in more regions around the world, these two names generally top the lists. Could it be that local challengers in each region are beginning to take over?

We are used to seeing Apple and Samsung going at each other, whether it is another legal battle over patent infringement or which operating system offers you better options. Now that the iPhone 6 is poised to be released in September, Samsung is taking potshots at Apple. I believe it was just last week that Samsung asked if iPhone users have screen envy. The company released a “slam” video on the forthcoming iPhone 6 poking fun at the Apple users' apparent excitement over the new handset's rumored new screen size.

It appears, however, that a new report from Netbiscuits, a global leader in mobile analytics and device detection, entitled “Netbiscuits Web Trends Report for Q2 2014”, shows that Apple and Samsung are experiencing their first major challenge from disruptive European vendors. Previous quarterly reports found that the Asian market was experiencing local growth; however, Europe has not really pushed what the report is referring to as “home-grown” vendors, that is until Q2 2014.

The two most impressive forces appear to come from France and Spain. Wiko Mobile is a company based in Marseille founded in 2011. Wiko specializes in the import and marketing of mobile phones and smartphones with dual slot SIM running Android. It sells its phones under its own brand. In Spain we have bq Mobile. The bq group is a manufacturer of mobile phone products featuring a large selection of budget feature phones and smartphones.

According to the Netbiscuits report, both companies have found a spot on the list of Top 50 devices in their respective countries. Wiko Mobile received a three percent share, while bq Mobile took in a 1.5 percent share. This represents the first time that any company in either country made to the top 50.

It looks as if the strongest challenge to Apple and Samsung comes from China. Xiaomi, Inc., which translates to little rice, is a privately owned Chinese electronics company headquartered in Beijing. It is one of China's biggest electronics companies that designs, develops and sells smartphones, mobile apps and consumer electronics. This company grabbed a hold of some of the traffic share and took it away from Apple and Samsung. For the first time, Xiaomi was able to capture over a 10 percent share of the top 100 device traffic.

The report is based on actual consumer web usage and was conducted in throughout more than 242 countries. Netbiscuits Q2 2014 report was conducted on the company’s Mobile Analytics tool. I mentioned above that Samsung was taking potshots at Apple concerning screen size, well it seems that the report found that size does matter. It seems that the average physical size of mobile phone screens being used in all countries worldwide increased significantly. People are interested in more screen real estate. The 5 to 5.9 inch category grew by another four percent to reach a 25 percent share in the second quarter. The expectation is that this will continue to grow in the third quarter.

When it comes to these large screen devices, a majority of the Web traffic as listed in the top 100 devices comes from South Korea with a 59 percent share. Coming in at 76 percent, South Korea also led the charge for mobile phones in the Top 100 list with LTE capability. Second in line with a 67 percent share is the U.S. At the other end of the spectrum we find Africa. Kenya and South Africa took the top honors for having the smallest physical screen sizes.

Daniel Weisbeck, who is both the COO and CMO at Netbiscuits, said, “In a world that has been dominated by Apple and Samsung, we’re heading back towards device fragmentation, with local vendors making credible gains in Asia and now Europe. For marketers, the increasing fragmentation is great – it means points of differentiation between customers that can be used to increase understanding and likely behavior. Plus it means opportunity to deliver a more targeted message and experience. For developers the instinctive response might be a little more negative, as it means the technology and the development methodologies they use have to work harder in order to ensure a great experience for every user. Thankfully, there are tools available to help developers firstly understand the make-up of their visitor base and then adapt their websites on the fly in order to ensure it all works as planned.”

Listed below are just a couple of the key findings from the report:

  • In Q2 globally, the Apple iPhone 5 series replaces the 4 and 4S as the most used device for surfing the web on mobile devices
  • Consumer demand shifts to acquiring the 5 to 5.9 inch screen size category in the United States, Canada and Australia. In the UK, the 4.5 to 4.9 segment gains the most traffic share
  • Android continues to grow share of traffic in, reaching 57 percent of web traffic worldwide this quarter (up from 55 percent). iOS holds its position, with a consistent 32 percent of total mobile traffic
  • South Korea tops the list for having the most mobile phones in the Top 100 category of devices that has 4G (LTE) capability (76 percent)
  • In 2014 67 per cent of the Top 100 devices being used in the USA were capable of supporting LTE, compared to only 33 per cent in the United Kingdom



Edited by Adam Brandt


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