Okay, lets begin by saying that for many consumers, it’s not a matter of hard-headed economics when it comes down to buying a mobile phone.
It’s usually a subjective (I like the look of that one) and maybe emotional (I’ve always bought those) decision when updating their mobile. And yes, price plans and tariffs do enter into it, but it’s all those other little pressures (which phone is cool, does it take great pictures) that go to make-up quite a complicated buying decision.
And for many of the traditional manufacturers, there is now another factor of course, the iPhone. In particular, 2008 has been a great year for the trendy iPhone and despite a few jitters at the start, it has proved a very popular hit.
But back to Nokia and Motorola.
And lets kick off with the view that Nokia is basically way ahead of Motorola in terms of success. Emotive buying patterns aside, Nokia seems to have the edge over Motorola.
Lets look at some basics. Nokia sells more phones. It has a greater product range and it has models to suit both the lower and upper ends of the market. In short, it’s offering to the consumer, which numbers around 100 different handsets at any one time, is pretty impressive.
Nokia is a former rubber boots and timber company which is based in a Helsinki suburb, and which made a corporate decision to focus on mobile phones in 1992. It turned out to be a sensible move and it has grown to be one of the major players.
It is reckoned that Nokia is one of four manufacturers in the premier division with the others, in order of global market share, being Samsung, then Motorola, Sony Ericsson and LG. Now if you look at the figures in detail, you see that Nokia has a staggering 40% share in 2008, with Samsung in second place at 14%, Motorola on about the same at 14%, Sony Ericsson at 9% and LG bringing up the rear with 7%. The guys in the premier division account for well over 80% of all mobile phones purchased.
The second division includes guys like Apple (who aimed for a 1% share of the market with the iPhone, but seem to have fallen short); HTC; Fujitsu; Panasonic; Research in Motion (BlackBerry); and, Siemens.
Nokia has also played it right with the vast expanding markets such as China, which has given it a great boost to it’s market share.
And as we enter a global downturn (at the time of writing), Nokia’s bundles of cash and virtually debt-free balance sheet will stand it in good stead for any future financial tribulations.
It’s not all been plain-sailing of course, with Nokia over-stretching itself in the mid 1990s with too much early success. Also, it’s often been criticised for failing to spot new design trends, which was blamed for hitting sales and profits in 2003. But it has learnt from that lesson and has spread the risk across a wider product range.
In contrast, Motorola, with the smaller market share of some 14%, became quickly dependent on the Razr range of phones, which seemed to nail its colours to just one part of the market. And no matter how popular those phones were and are, they did not provide a big enough product offering.
And Nokia is still facing questions over certain aspects of its operation, including its email functionality (being placed in the shade by the makers of the BlackBerry), its lack of touch screen products (putting it well behind HTC and Apple), and its slowness to develop a mobile phone infrastructure (as have Sony Ericsson).
So, Nokia dwarfs Motorola right across the board, but if you like Motorola mobiles, that’s not going to stop you buying one if its literally rings your bell.
This article was written by eCommerce Associates for Compare Mobile