Market analysis

Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users totaled 968mn units in 2013, an increase of 42.3% from 2012. Sales of smartphones accounted for 53.6% of overall mobile phone sales in 2013, and exceeded annual sales of feature phones for the first time.1

Smartphone sales grew 36% in Q4'13 and accounted for 57.6 % of overall mobile phone sales in Q4'13, up from 44% in Q4'12. This increasing ratio of smartphones to mobile phones was led by growth in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe, where Q4’13 smartphone sales grew by more than 50%. With a 166.8% increase in Q4'13 , India recorded the highest smartphone sales growth at a country level and Latin America saw the strongest growth among all regions (96.1%) in Q4'13. China also contributed significantly to worldwide smartphone sales as sales grew 86.3% in 2013.1

Retailers believe that mobile must be the number-one priority for their digital business in 2014. According to 2014 Research Inc: State Of Retailing Online survey, which surveyed 70 retailers in October and November 2013, more than half (53%) of the survey respondents marked mobile efforts as a top priority and identified responsive design, mobile site optimisation and tablet redesign among key focus areas.2

As cloud computing adoption accelerates, core hardware components such as servers, storage and networks need to rapidly evolve to support emerging cloud-use models that are challenging existing performance, security, availability and agility capabilities.

On 27 January 2014, Ericsson and Samsung reached an agreement on global patent licenses. The cross-license agreement covers patents relating to GSM, UMTS and LTE standards for both networks and handsets. Ericsson’s sales for comparable units, adjusted for foreign exchange rates, increased 4% YoY. Ericsson’s successful close of an Intellectual Property Rights cross-license agreement with Samsung on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms positively impacted net income by SEK 3.3bn in Q4'13, as the initial payment from the agreement contributed to net sales. Ericsson’s sales increased in China and Russia, while Network sales in North America and overall sales in Japan declined. CDMA sales in North America, as well as GSM sales in China, continued to decline.

Cisco’s net income decreased by more than 50% YoY to US$1.4bn led by downside volatility in emerging markets and product transitions, which (broadly defined) include transition away from low-price set-top boxes to software, as well as new core routers; and near-term competitive weakness in edge and metro Ethernet routers. Net income for Q2’14 (calendar quarter Q4’13) was also adversely impacted by a pre-tax charge of US$655mn related to the expected cost of remediation of issues with memory components in certain products sold in prior fiscal years.

  1. Gartner Press Release, February 2014
  2. Forrester, January 2014
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Scott Adams
Global leader
Computers & networking
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