The battle of the smartphones

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With the imminent release of Apple’s iPhone 6, we thought it appropriate to take a look at how the key players within the smartphone market have been performing within technology media. The results were a little surprising.

Smartphones as a topic has been declining for some time now. Apollo Research’s figures show that the number of news stories in the UK has fallen by 25.1% when the period January to June 2014 is compared with the same period in 2013.

This reduction is supported by the smartphones declining Apollo Index Score, this unique rating looks at the number of writers writing about smartphones and the graph below shows smartphones decline in Apollo Index Score since August 2013.

Journalists writing  smartphones

The decline of smartphones as a topic does appear unusual. The mobile phone market as a whole is still increasing and is expected to do so for some time to come as new users in developing regions such as the Middle East and Africa drive growth. As smartphone devices become more affordable and 3G and 4G networks develop, mobile users are rapidly moving over to smartphones as devices.

The figures taken from emarketer.com “Smartphone users and penetration worldwide 2012-2017” again show that whilst the smartphone market is slowing it will still enjoy growth for some time to come.

So why is the topic of smartphones declining within technology media? If we at look Apollo Research’s Hot Topic lifecycle it would appear that smartphones have reached phase 5. The market place for smartphones is well established, vendors are focused towards market position with very few new entrants arriving to market. Media is focused around brand differentiation and new releases and as we are currently experiencing, media interest begins to plateau.

With what appears to be a decreasing appetite for media around the topic of smartphones it is even more important for vendors to establish their position and achieve share of voice within the media. Analysing the data from Apollo Research’s coverage reports for the sector it is apparent there is a struggle for the top spot.

Looking at media coverage from 2012 until current day it appears that there is a regular shift in the share of voice leader. Samsung secure the position from January to June and relinquish it to the iPhone from July to December, this emerging pattern could be linked with Apples tendency to launch new iPhone products in the second half of the year.

The fluctuation between Samsung and Apple is not the only change we have seen. In the last 12 months Blackberry have fallen from third position to sixth position with a 9.1% reduction in share of voice, HTC have climbed from fifth place to third place with a 2.5% rise in share of voice and LG have increased their share by 3.1% rising to fifth place. Nokia has maintained its fourth position throughout this period maintaining around 11% share of voice. The full comparison of the results is available in the table below.

Smartphone Share of voice chart.png

 

Whilst Samsung and iPhone are the dominant players in the media, but new launches often provide a big boost to the smaller players. In March 2014 HTC reached the number one spot with a 26% share of voice when they launched their new phone.

HTCs ability to compete and achieve share over Samsung and iPhone shows that amongst technology writers there is still an appetite to write about new products and technology in the smartphone sector. Although companies such as Huawei and ZTE are still relative newcomers to the western markets, it is conceivable that in a relatively short time they could be where Blackberry was in June 2007 before the first iPhone was launched.

This week’s launch of the iPhone 6 should see a surge in the iPhones share of voice for the period and it is expected that they will continue the pattern and steal the top spot from Samsung in the second half of the year. But with new product launches from Samsung, LG and Huawei expected later in the year it will be interesting to see how long Apple can maintain its share of coverage in this highly competitive sector.

MarketingThe battle of the smartphones