Research company IDC’s European devices research head Francisco Jeronimo used Twitter to share shipment figures for Google (Pixel), Essential and HMD Global (Nokia feature phones), which provided an interesting insight into the mixed fortunes of the companies.
For example, while shipments of Google’s Pixel devices doubled year-on-year to 3.9 million units in 2017, Jeronimo noted this represents a “tiny portion of the 1.5 billion market size”. For context, Sony (which is hardly a beacon of smartphone success at the moment) shipped 4 million units in the fourth quarter alone.
With Google having recently spent big to acquire smartphone talent from HTC, it will be interesting to see how its Pixel strategy evolves in terms of gaining scale.
Despite the hype, Andy Rubin’s Essential shipped fewer than 90,000 units of its eponymous smartphone during the year (although it was not available for the full year).
But on a more positive note, the analyst said the Nokia brand had remained “resilient” in the feature phone market, meaning HMD Global managed to become the second-largest player in this much maligned market. The company shipped 59.2 million feature phones in the year.
While figures for the bigger device brands are widely discussed, the figures cited by Jeronimo indicate how tough the smartphone market really is – regardless of how big or high-profile a company is.