The changing face of the mobile world

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The changing face of the mobile world

 The smartphone has consistently dominated publication pages, both online and off, with features and qualities, design and size, debated and analysed by an increasingly savvy media pool. The iPhone 6 launch saw ripples across the smartphone market as the key players jostled for attention, and yet the topic is in decline with Apollo Research trends showing that news stories around smartphones in the UK have fallen by 25.1% from January – June 2014 compared with the same period in 2013. Our research found that in 2014 the smartphone sector saw 7986 stories, a decrease on the last period by just over 40%.

The market has reached phase 5 according to the Apollo Research Hot Topic Lifecycle – the drop in smartphone commentary a normal shift as devices become more prolific and affordable.

What draws the media out today is not the same as what inspired them five, six or even ten years ago. Now value is determined by feature sets, the value of the product compared with others on the market, and the design element that holds market attention. Much like the first iPhone gripped the globe, the latest devices need a value proposition that extends beyond the expected, or perhaps reinvents it just enough to make it interesting.

A glance at the trends uncovered by our research into the share of voice from October 2014 to December 2014 saw the iPhone dip by 13.2% in coverage on the previous period of July 2014-September 2014. Meanwhile Samsung, Nokia, BlackBerry and HTC surged upwards by as much as 3.6%. HTC saw an increase of 2.8% with Nokia and BlackBerry at 2.6% and 2.5% respectively. These figures are interesting in that both Nokia and BlackBerry have experienced negative media coverage over the past few years – rumours of their death appear to have been greatly exaggerated as their share of voice starts to rise once again.

SMARTPHONES - THE CHANGING FACE OF THE MOBILE WORLD

A look at the share of media coverage for the giants of the mobile world

 

The media that cover this sector tend to write primarily about iPhone and Samsung with the top three – PC Advisor, CNET and Macworld UK – focusing predominantly on the iPhone, although Macworld UK is an obvious bias. Trusted Reviews, International Business Times, The Inquirer and Expert Reviews are dominated by Samsung. If we look at another brand – HTC for example – their rank within these exact publications has fluctuated considerably. HTC’s share of voice in PC Advisor, for example, has dropped from 9.4% in 2013 to 9.2% in 2014 and yet it has stayed in a steady fourth place in the smartphone rankings. However, the same brand has dropped by two percentage points in the Inquirer and by one percentage point across Expert Reviews and Trusted Reviews.

What’s interesting here is that the smartphones that hold the lead are also those that are globally identified as having the richest brand identities. The Interbrand 15th annual Best Global Brands Report placed Apple in the top position for the second year in a row, but Huawei has now appeared on the ranks as the first Chinese company to do so and is just behind Samsung and Apple as the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. The value of these brands, for the purposes of the survey, was determined by financial performance, customer influence and the ability to command a premium price or secure earnings.

The perceived value of a brand is a driving force when it comes to garnering a share of voice and capturing the attention of the media, but this is further influenced by feature sets, design and cost. Apollo Research’s analytics has found that the top companies within the three spheres of thought leadership topic of Cost, Design and Features, have Samsung and iPhone holding the majority of media attention. That said LG, Hauwei and HTC are not dragging their heels behind them as they have strong percentage points across all three categories. Samsung has 32.3% for cost followed by iPhone at 19.7% and closely tagged by HTC’s 13.5% and LG’s 10.3%. When it comes to feature sets, though, the iPhone remains in charge at 36.3%, while Samsung holds the lead in design at 30.3% and Huawei hangs in second and third place respectively. Nokia, Sony Mobile and BlackBerry are not that far behind, although under the 10% mark.

The brands that are capturing the dwindling share of voice are those that have tapped into the market’s zeitgeist and delivered on perceived value and capability within the areas of cost, design and technology features. Thought leadership has become a commodity and, as the 883 writers of smartphone solutions and innovations pull on the strings attached to these devices, it will be those that dance to the market tune that will see their share of voice rise appreciably. 

MarketingThe changing face of the mobile world