Strategy Analytics: Unlocked Smartphones Made Up 9% of Total Smartphone Volumes in US in 2015

Feb 23, 2016, 10:07 ET from Strategy Analytics

BOSTON, Feb. 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, US unlocked smartphones shipments grew 140 percent annually to hit a record 14.6 million units in 2015. BLU took the lead, capturing a share of 36 percent of the unlocked smartphone market in US last year.

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, said, "US unlocked smartphone shipments increased 140% annually from 6.1 million units in 2014 to 14.6 million in 2015. In contrast, US total smartphone shipments only grew 7% last year with 158.7 million units. Unlocked smartphones made up 9% of total smartphone volumes in the US in 2015, significantly up from 4% one year ago. Unlocked smartphones are the faster-growing segment in the US smartphone market today."

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "BLU shipped 5.2 million unlocked smartphones for the number one spot in the US in 2015, growing 160 percent annually from 2.0 million units in 2014. The Florida-based company has been growing rapidly in the US unlocked smartphone market due to extensive distribution channels like Amazon and BestBuy and popular Android unlocked models like the Studio 6.0 model. Apple also ramped up volumes quickly in the US unlocked smartphone, market driven by the iPhone Upgrade Program launched in Q3 2015. We tracked 1.8 million unlocked iPhones sold in the US in 2015, dramatically up from 0.7 million units in 2014, growing 157 percent annually."

Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Motorola also had a strong performance in the US unlocked smartphone market, shipping a record 1.4 million unlocked smartphones in 2015. Motorola solidified its third position standing with a 9 percent marketshare, up from 2 percent one year ago. Motorola's newly launched Moto X (3rd generation) and G (3rd generation), as well as price reductions for its 2nd Moto G were the main growth drivers for it in this segment during the second half of 2015. LG and Huawei also saw strong growth in the US unlocked smartphone market mainly thanks to healthy demand for the Google Nexus 5X and 6P respectively."

Linda Sui, Director at Strategy Analytics, added, "Leasing and EIP (equipment installment plan) programs take smartphones back to their "real" values, rather than subsidized prices. This has  made cost-sensitive consumers search for alternative or cheaper options in open and online channels in the US. Meanwhile, US top carriers' SIM-only offerings and Apple's iPhone upgrade program also play the catalyst role. We forecast unlocked smartphones will further grow to 23 million units in 2016 in the US, accounting for 14% of total smartphone volumes. The unlocked smartphone market is the faster-growing segment in the US, which is the most valuable smartphone market worldwide. No smartphone makers can afford to ignore the booming unlocked smartphone market in the US."

Exhibit 1: US Unlocked Smartphone Vendor Shipments and Marketshare in 2015  [1]

US Unlocked Smartphone Vendor Shipments (Millions of Units)

2014

2015

BLU

2.0

5.2

Apple

0.7

1.8

Motorola

0.1

1.4

Others

3.3

6.2

Total

6.1

14.6




US Unlocked Smartphone Vendor Marketshare (%)

2014

2015

BLU

32.8%

35.6%

Apple

11.5%

12.3%

Motorola

1.6%

9.6%

Others

54.1%

42.5%

Total

100.00%

100.00%




Total Growth: Year-over-Year (%)

103%

140%

 

[1]  Numbers are rounded.

The full report, US Unlocked Smartphone Vendor Market Share : Q4 2015 is published by the Strategy Analytics Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service, details of which can be found here.

About Strategy Analytics:

Strategy Analytics is a global, independent research and consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Boston, USA, with offices in the UK, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, India and China. Visit www.strategyanalytics.com for more information.

Americas Contacts:
Linda Sui / +1 617 614 0735 / LSui@strategyanalytics.com
Ken Hyers / +1 617 614 0757 / KHyers@strategyanalytics.com

EMEA Contact:
Neil Mawston / +44 1908 423 628 / NMawston@strategyanalytics.com

Asia Contact:
Woody Oh / +44 1908 423 665 / WOh@strategyanalytics.com


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