Today we've seen Nokia's financial Q3 results for 2013 and - though overall numbers leave something to be desired - it would appear that their "smart" phones strategy with Lumia and Asha is working. We've had a peek at Nokia's results and cross-referenced with the IDC's most recent numbers. We had a chat with the IDC's Research Manager for Mobile Phones Ramon T. Llamas on the subject as well, and have come to the conclusion that Nokia may very well be on the right track.
Nokia's third quarter of their financial 2013 shows them increasing volume on smartphones from 11.7 million units this past quarter to 14.7 million units in this most recent quarter. This includes the Nokia Lumia smartphone range which hit a volume of 8.8 million units this Q3 as well as Asha phones which reached a volume of 5.9 million units.
There's a slight difference between the way the IDC sees Asha and the way Nokia sees Asha as the IDC does not consider the Asha range to be smartphones. Nokia does, indeed, consider Asha a smartphone range, and therefor includes them in their Devices & Services total smartphone volume numbers - meanwhile the most recent quarterly shipping numbers from the IDC only roll Nokia into the top five manufacturers for overall phone sales, as they've not quite parsed the top five for manufacturers shipping smartphones.
You'll find Nokia bringing up numbers for shipping what they consider smartphones - the same is true of mobile devices overall if you only consider the 2nd quarter of this year compared to the 3rd. There you'll see a 6% increase in volume of Nokia mobile devices, while compared to a year ago during Q3 Nokia had a slightly larger 82.9 million units in volume compared to this most recent quarter's 64.6 million units.
What one can infer from this is that Nokia's non-smart phone activity is falling while their "smart" phone action rises.
"You are correct, Nokia is shipping less overall. It reflects two trends: less demand for feature phones, and Nokia's slow, but nonetheless upward, trajectory of its Windows Phones. It's no secret that feature phones are being supplanted by smartphones, and Nokia is feeling the pressure there.
But you have to give them credit for trying to breathe life into the category with its Asha line-up in emerging markets. These devices don't look or feel cheap, and when you get to the news ones they announced last week, these border on being smartphones. (Yes, Nokia counts them as smartphones, but we do not)." - Ramon T. Llamas, Research Manager, Mobile Phones, IDC
You can find out more about Asha smartphones in SlashGear's Asha tag portal, including the most recent Nokia Asha 503, 502, and 500 hands-on. These devices are what Nokia calls "affordable smartphones."
"As for Lumia smartphones it's been a slow build, and I have to give credit to Nokia for doing that. What started out as one mid-range device two years ago has blossomed into a fuller portfolio featuring high end (1520, 1020), mid-range (1320, 92x, 82x), and entry-level. It's a stronger portfolio than before. Now, are the volumes the same as Symbian in its heyday? Clearly not, but it was also a different market then.
Lumia/Windows Phone is going up against Android and iPhone, and while those platforms certainly have their fanboys and fangirls, so does Windows Phone. I think in one survey we did, we saw more survey participants putting Windows Phone on their consideration list when shopping around for a new phone. Now let's see what MSFT/NOK can do together." - Ramon T. Llamas, Research Manager, Mobile Phones, IDC
You'll find the IDC results for this Q3 2013 to show Nokia's shipments of smartphones falling year-over-year. While Q3 of 2013 showed Nokia to ship a total of 82.9 million units, this Q3 2013 they shipped 64.6 million units. A sharpening of efforts, it would seem.
Does this seem to be the right strategy from your perspective? Have you seen Nokia as a more appealing phone brand in the past several years, or less? Let us know how you're taking these trends out in the wild!