Sony and HTC Smartphone Sales Show Signs of a Rebound in May While ZTE Struggles

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Counterpoint Research announces May global smartphone sales numbers, which show brands like Sony, HTC and Coolpad gain while ZTE and Lenovo fall behind.

Counterpoint Technology Market Research (Counterpoint Research hereafter), announced its May global smartphone report which shows the market getting competitive as Sony and HTC rebound while ZTE falls behind. The report analyzes sales data gathered from 26 countries globally.

The smartphone market has cooled down a bit in April and May, mostly due to the slowdown of sales in developed markets like Europe and Japan. However, shipments from vendors have increased, forewarning potential inventory problems in the market. Samsung continues to lead with Apple trailing behind, but there have been some changes within the other brands following the Big 2.

LG maintains its lead over Huawei holding third place but Sony has surpassed ZTE, jumping to 5th place, with HTC also surpassing Lenovo during May. Sony’s Xperia Z has proven to be a global hit, as it now sells 1 million units a month. It has helped propel Sony to the No. 1 spot in the Japan for the first time. Sony beat both Apple and Sharp by a whisker in the Japanese mobile handset market.

HTC has been successful in Europe, as the new HTC One gains traction. This is despite Samsung’s onslaught of marketing for the Galaxy S 4. We expect more growth from HTC in the coming months as the roll out of the HTC One gathers pace.

Major Chinese brands like ZTE and Lenovo showed weakness as their sales in China slumped due to heavy competition from local brands like Coolpad, Hisense, TCL and Skyworth. Prospects for overseas sales also look challenging as Samsung is launching an array of smartphones targeted at the sweet spot of these major Chinese brands.

June sales look better in total volume, though the Premium segment continues to contract for the 4th consecutive month.

Counterpoint Research Director Peter Richardson comments, "This will probably hurt the profitability of the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013. iPhone sales and Galaxy S4 sales will be the most impacted during this period of low spend on Premium smartphones."

The iPhone 5 remained to be the bestselling smartphone in May. It sold more than 8 million units in May alone.

Nokia’s Asha line shows weakness as most of its models fall out of the list of top 10 global hit models in the month of May save the Asha 311.

Blackberry Z10 sell through is 1 million units a month now but Q10 sales are still slow causing Blackberry market share to erode.

Figure 1. Top 5 Global smartphone brands in May 2013
1. Samsung
2. Apple
3. LG
4. Huawei
5. Sony
(Source: Counterpoint Research May 2013)

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in Technology products in the TMT industry. It services major technology firms and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analysis of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are experts in the industry with an average tenure of 13 years in the high tech industry.

For press inquiries please contact info(at)counterpointresearch(dot)com

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UK Office number: +44 20 3239 6411

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