Gartner released its quarterly report on smartphone sales globally for Q1 2016 and the data doesn’t look great for any of the major North American players. Microsoft, BlackBerry, Apple all saw their market share significantly decline when compared with the same time last year, but the news is predominantly bad for the latter two companies.
Samsung and Apple go on to holding the top two spots in the phone market overall, with 23.2 percemt and 14.8 percent of the market respectively; however, compared with 2015 both companies were off — Apple’s market share declined 3.1 percentage points, while Samsung’s declined 0.9 percent points. Oppo and Huawei were the big winners this past year. Huawei picked up 2.9 percentage points of market share while Oppo moved in 2015 having 2 percent of the market to 2016 having 4.6 percent.
Lenovo is going through challenging times
Lenovo, which increased its market share sharply in these years, completely fell off the map for 2015-2016, with a whopping 33 percent decline in smartphone shipments. Anshel Gupta director of Gartner Research writes: “Lenovo had another challenging quarter with its worldwide smartphone sales declining 33 percent. Its smartphone sales fell by 75 percent in Greater China, where it faced strong competition from local brands. Lenovo is also struggling to bring synergies with Motorola’s device business, managing lower costs and overheads of the two brands.”
The news is really bad for two companies: BlackBerry and Microsoft in particular. Both companies have put their money on high-profile devices and projects to save their smartphone businesses — BlackBerry with devices such as its Android phone, the BlackBerry Priv, and Microsoft with Windows 10 Mobile.
Windows 10 Mobile is a platform that no one even takes the time to create apps for it, while the Priv is a descent phone that BlackBerry hoped would reboot its whole phone division along with hardware sales. If the figures Gartner provided are even slightly accurate, that is simply not what’s happened. Perhaps the Priv has simply not sold well enough to offset the overall decline in Blackberry’s handset business, but at the moment there’s not much proof for this hypothesis.
Expectations for Microsoft Phone sales
Microsoft phone sales were an estimated 2.4 million devices sold last quarter, falling to 0.7 percent of the market, down from 8.2 million devices 2015 in the first quarter or 2.5 percent. BlackBerry shipped only 660,000 mobile phones and held 0.2 percent of the market, which is a drop from 1.325 million and 0.4 percent of the 2016 market.
It appears very improbable that either BlackBerry or Microsoft will be able to reverse this plunge and neither company appears chiefly interested in enduring to continue to try. BlackBerry is already making noises about moving away from the hardware game and turning into a software company, while Microsoft has already made the announcement that it’s selling its feature phone business to Foxconn for a price of $350 million.
Microsoft has also vowed to keep developing Windows 10 Mobile, however, Microsoft has reportedly put any plans on hold for launching any future Lumia devices and it is not anticipated that they will have a so-called Surface Phone in the market until sometime in 2017. In theory, it could lead to a revitalization of the Windows Phone market, however the collapsing market share makes it difficult to see why app developers would even target this platform.