Xiaomi takes offense at smartphone estimates off by 2.5M units, Apple doesn't

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in iPhone
Xiaomi took the unusual step of reporting its smartphone shipments for the March quarter, which it issued in response to phone shipment data it said was "inaccurate and unfair, and deviates from our actual performance in terms of shipment of smartphones." Apple neither reported iPhone units nor took issue with IDC's data, despite its shipments clearly being undercounted by a margin more than twice as large.


Xiaomi says IDC's estimates were off by millions of units


Xiaomi didn't specifically name IDC as the "certain market research institutions" it felt compelled to challenge, but its characterization suggests that's who the phone maker was aiming its correction at, with the stated intent to "protect investors from any misleading information."

Xiaomi's statement said its shipments "exceeded 27.5 million" smartphones in Q1, compared to 25 million estimated by IDC. The difference between the two numbers is 2.5 million phones. It also changes IDC's math, which stated that Xiaomi's sales had dropped by 10.2% over the year ago quarter, rather than remaining effectively flat.

Canalys also issued a statement noting that its own estimates for Xiaomi were very close to the figure the phone maker gave: 27.8 million units. Canalys stated that it "wants to make it absolutely clear that it was not the company responsible for the inaccurate data and that its reputation remains unblemished."

IDC's iPhone estimate was far less accurate, Apple didn't care

AppleInsider earlier reported that analyst Neil Cybart of Above Avalon had also called IDC's parallel estimate of Apple's iPhone sales 'highly inaccurate' to the point of 'embarrassing.'

IDC reported just 36.4 million iPhone sales in the quarter, compared to Cybart's model of 43 million, and Canalys' estimate of 40.2 million. Apple stopped reporting its official unit shipments, but IDC's figures were statistically "impossible" given Apple's official statement of iPhone revenues. They also differed from Cybart's data by an incredible 6.6 million iPhones-- or about $4.8 billion worth of devices-- nearly as much as Apple Park supposedly cost to build.

Apple Park
IDC's estimate of quarterly iPhone shipments were off by nearly $5 billion, or most of an Apple Park

Where the rules are made up and the points don't matter

IDC's iPhone estimate differed from others' by a margin of as much as 2.6 times times larger than the figure Xiaomi felt compelled to challenge in public, but Apple did not respond to IDC's estimates to "protect investors from any misleading information."

Apple does not appear to have ever corrected IDC's figures, even when they have been clearly wrong. Apple has, however, frequently cited IDC's numbers as being authoritative in its public events and in earnings calls.

Correcting IDC's figures wouldn't change the ranking order of smartphone makers by unit volume, as Samsung and Huawei shipped far more, albeit much lower-end phones, than third place Apple, and Xiaomi would still remain in fourth place-- as long as Vivo and Oppo are counted as separate brands; the two are actually owned by the same company. It's not clear why market research groups treat them as competitors.

However, adjusting the two numbers that are known to be off by millions of units does make Apple's percentage of change in shipments over the year-ago quarter far less dramatic, and virtually erases Xiaomi's drop. That raises some serious questions about everything we think we know about the smartphone market. Are global sales even contracting at all? Are things worse that we're told?

The actual economic data that would explain what's truly happening in the industry is missing from IDC's public estimates entirely. In terms of revenues and profits, Apple is not even in the same category as Android licensees.

Apple makes virtually all of the profits earned in smartphones, and its iPhone revenues alone are consistently higher than even "first place" Samsung's entire Mobile IM unit, which sells not just smartphones but all of the company's PCs, tablets, Chromebooks, and Gear watches.

Apple reported $31 billion in iPhone revenues alone in the last quarter, total revenues of $58 billion, and $11.6 billion in profits comparable to Samsung's equivalent Mobil IM consumer electronics segment, which reported revenues of $22.26 billion and profits of $1.95 billion (when also adding in its networking equipment business). The entire Samsung Electronics, including its display and semiconductor business, TVs and other home appliances, reported total revenues of $45 billion and profits of $5.35 billion.

By focusing only on unit sales, IDC can suggest that Apple is trailing various Android licensees in the phone business, a tactic is has also pursued in tablets, in PCs, and in watches.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,705member
    Markets, analysts, journalists, politics and ideology don’t have to operate in reality, but eventually they will pay the price of not doing so.
    edited May 3 radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,066member
    entropys said:
    Markets, analysts, journalists, politics and ideology don’t have to operate in reality, but eventually they will pay the price of not doing so.
    Yeah? When has that ever happened? Analysts and journalists NEVER pay the price of not operating in reality.
    cornchipthtwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 3 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,705member
    I know sometimes it seems that way, Lkrupp. Ponder for a moment though, CNN market share.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,055member
    The embarrassing numbers hucked up by IDC are clearly a ploy to bait Apple into reporting actual iPhone shipment numbers. Not going to happen. 
    cornchipwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    iobserveiobserve Posts: 95member
    entropys said:
    I know sometimes it seems that way, Lkrupp. Ponder for a moment though, CNN market share.
    Considering the high market share of Fox fake News, it would seem you disprove your own point. 
    Soliradarthekatthtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,705member
    Leaving aside the clearly political desires you reveal lobserve (disclosure, I do not watch Fox), when I was a lad, CNN was the news network. 
    Now it is the smallest of the big three.

    Why has that happened?
    muthuk_vanalingambigtds
  • Reply 7 of 20
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,563member
    Apple never says anything, since they know the analysis will never change. We live in time where people do not want to be told they are wrong.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    iobserveiobserve Posts: 95member
    entropys said:
    Leaving aside the clearly political desires you reveal lobserve (disclosure, I do not watch Fox), when I was a lad, CNN was the news network. 
    Now it is the smallest of the big three.

    Why has that happened?
    I never implied you watched it. Your statement implied bad things happen to shoddy news orgs, and have evidence of CNN’s. Fox is objectively a much worse news source and has the highest market share, thus disproving your point.
    I’ll leave aside your clear political bias and your false assertions about mine. (Disclosure, I don’t watch fox or CNN, but have observed them and know of their biases). 
    tht
  • Reply 9 of 20
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,046moderator
    iobserve said:
    entropys said:
    Leaving aside the clearly political desires you reveal lobserve (disclosure, I do not watch Fox), when I was a lad, CNN was the news network. 
    Now it is the smallest of the big three.

    Why has that happened?
    I never implied you watched it. Your statement implied bad things happen to shoddy news orgs, and have evidence of CNN’s. Fox is objectively a much worse news source and has the highest market share, thus disproving your point.
    I’ll leave aside your clear political bias and your false assertions about mine. (Disclosure, I don’t watch fox or CNN, but have observed them and know of their biases). 
    Exactly.  Relative good news sources (CNN), in today’s world, get outpaced by sensationalist, pandering and ethically challenged news sources that cater to the conspiracist-believing, easily influenced  common denominator crowd (FOX).  That’s not a political statement, it’s an objective reality.  It just is.  
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 10 of 20
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,705member
    Are you saying CNN is objective news? Why assume that?

    bwwahahhaha!

    Look, the thing about modern journalism is, apart from their horrific propensity to trawl social media for quick story ideas, is that they know nothing. And I don’t mean this in a small way. They are pig ignorant as a class of people and political journalists in particular narcissisticly believe they are players who set the agenda, without doing that messy thing where you have to stand for election. Traditional investigative journalism is dead, replaced with agenda riven polemic. Shallow egos fantasising they will one day be as famous as Woodward and Bernstien. But without the values.

    Every article it is best to assume is wrong. Doesn’t matter if it CNN, Fox, or the NYT.  Think about the news coverage of just about any subject you know something about. It is almost always wrong in ways big or small. Heck look at just about any mainstream coverage of Apple. I rest my case.  

    Thing is, I am always amazed that people that already knows journalists are usually wrong about a subject the person knows about, assumes stories written about subjects they don’t know about are true. Odds are high they aren’t.
    edited May 4 bigtdscornchip
  • Reply 11 of 20
    bigtdsbigtds Posts: 58member
    Wow! This turned political quickly.
    cornchip
  • Reply 12 of 20
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,066member
    maestro64 said:
    Apple never says anything, since they know the analysis will never change. We live in time where people do not want to be told they are wrong.
    When a company responds to something a journalist or analyst says about them they (the reporters) interpret that as having struck a nerve with that company. it encourages them to continue their prodding because it makes them look better, they think, in the public’s mind. Oooooo, Apple responded to my screed so where there’s smoke there must be fire. I’ll keep hammering away at them. This is why Apple almost never responds to some journalist’s taunting. How may times have we seen right here in AI the following? “We’ve contacted Apple for comment but they did not respond.” 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member
    Exactly.  Relative good news sources (CNN), in today’s world, get outpaced by sensationalist, pandering and ethically challenged news sources that cater to the conspiracist-believing, easily influenced  common denominator crowd (FOX).  That’s not a political statement, it’s an objective reality.  It just is.  
    I totally disagree. CNN and relative good news source does not belong in the same sentence, unless somebody is telling a joke perhaps. That might be your opinion, which you're entitled to, but it is not an objective reality. CNN is far more sensationalist, partisan, pandering, corrupt and ethically challenged than Fox ever was, and CNN these days caters to a small crowd of miserable, disgruntled, delusional viewers who still can't accept reality, years after certain events have transpired.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,142member
    apple ][ said:
    Exactly.  Relative good news sources (CNN), in today’s world, get outpaced by sensationalist, pandering and ethically challenged news sources that cater to the conspiracist-believing, easily influenced  common denominator crowd (FOX).  That’s not a political statement, it’s an objective reality.  It just is.  
    I totally disagree. CNN and relative good news source does not belong in the same sentence, unless somebody is telling a joke perhaps. That might be your opinion, which you're entitled to, but it is not an objective reality. CNN is far more sensationalist, partisan, pandering, corrupt and ethically challenged than Fox ever was, and CNN these days caters to a small crowd of miserable, disgruntled, delusional viewers who still can't accept reality, years after certain events have transpired.
    Anybody can browse your political post history and conclude what a joke all your posts are, and how you should be considered a clown on any such topic with laughably extremist opinions. Haven’t you been banned on multiple occasions for being a bigot, a racist, islamophobe, and generally a horrendous, hateful human being in every sense of the word? How much did you beg the mods to bring you back? 

    But yeah, let’s take your opinion of Fox News bs CNN seriously.  Every single poll out there unequivocally shows that Fox News viewers are MASSIVELY and OBJECTIVELY more misinformed than watchers of any other channel. There’s no way you can twist your way around that. Your political ideology has nothing to with the facts of the matter. 
    edited May 5 Carnage
  • Reply 15 of 20
    1st1st Posts: 362member
    typical behavior difference between the companies has a lot of cash and secure, compare with the other of totally opposite (any market perception could damage "brand" - especially when the burn rate is higher than rev... on the death march watch, unless Gov handout life line for Xiaomi). 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 20
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,650member
    slurpy said:
    Anybody can browse your political post history and conclude what a joke all your posts are, and how you should be considered a clown on any such topic with laughably extremist opinions. Haven’t you been banned on multiple occasions for being a bigot, a racist, islamophobe, and generally a horrendous, hateful human being in every sense of the word? How much did you beg the mods to bring you back? 

    But yeah, let’s take your opinion of Fox News bs CNN seriously.  Every single poll out there unequivocally shows that Fox News viewers are MASSIVELY and OBJECTIVELY more misinformed than watchers of any other channel. There’s no way you can twist your way around that. Your political ideology has nothing to with the facts of the matter. 
    You could be a CNN reporter, because you and them both deliver fake news. I didn't have to beg anybody because I wasn't banned from here. I chose not to post for a while, and now I decided to post again, apparently much to the dismay of certain slanderous, fake news posters, such as yourself.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    jdiamondjdiamond Posts: 62member
    Guys, focus, this is about Xiaomi striking back against IDC.  If more of the little guys did that, IDC would lose all credibility.  But it's worth pondering how much this actually impacts companies - sure, their stock price might go down a little as investors switch - I'm not sure if customers would be swayed to buy a different phone because it shipped more units.  But this isn't so different from, for example, Apple stock recently plunging because Trump might raise Chinese Tariffs.  Trump also might not, or might not raise Tariffs on iPhones.So in theory the stock should recover.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 20
    1st1st Posts: 362member
    " I'm not sure if customers would be swayed to buy a different phone because it shipped more units." if I know the company might not be around for next 3-5 years to support my unit (e.g. xiaomi... if they are so touchy about 2.5 million units, it is definitely got some "sway" there if not tornado inside company;-), I would pick up another droid - not like you got bind to apple eco system, no 2nd choice. for Droid, many of the same slab, just price differential (not much, if you want medium price range handset... beauty of droid is choice).
  • Reply 19 of 20
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 70unconfirmed, member
    Last year few fake reports say that iPhone X was unsold. Now we know it was the world top seller. I think that is a good thing if someone take action against company like idc and their way to create false information.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 3,773member
    Last year few fake reports say that iPhone X was unsold. Now we know it was the world top seller. I think that is a good thing if someone take action against company like idc and their way to create false information.
    Accurate or not, these are estimates and we should bear this in mind at all times.

    I'm not sure if the iPhone X actually was the best seller as those numbers would probably be based on estimates too.

    In that particular case the information is irrelevant as the fewer phones major manufacturers produce, the more likely it is to see the phones appear in 'most' popular charts.
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