Apple earned more than Samsung, LG, Nokia, Huawei, Lenovo & Motorola's mobile shipments combined

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
With sales of "just" 33.8 million iPhones, Apple earned more than Samsung's entire mobile unit (which includes PCs, netbooks and tablets) plus the mobile phone hardware divisions of LG, Nokia, Huawei, Lenovo and Motorola, too.

phone profits vs sales

Apple vs Apple, not the rest of the industry

Michael Liedtke, writing for the Associated Press, issued a wire report headlined "Apple earnings fall despite strong iPhone sales," comparing the company's just announced net profits of $7.5 billion with its year ago quarter, when it reported earnings of $8.2 billion.

Apple's operating profit (net before taxes and other expenses; the only profit number some companies report in detail) was just over $10 billion, down from $10.9 billion in the year ago quarter.

However, Apple is not competing against Apple 2012. It's competing against other mobile firms of today, most notably Samsung, which led worldwide shipments of phones with an estimated 120 million units, just over 3.5 times as many as Apple reported it sold in the quarter. Despite that volume disparity, Apple earned significantly more money.

Apple actually earned enough more to have beaten not only Samsung Mobile (which reported operating profits of 6.7 Trillion KRW, or about $6.3 Billion U.S.), but also the phone businesses of Nokia Devices and Services (-$118M), LG (-$75M) and Google's Motorola (-$192M).

phone profits vs sales


That's actually easy to report because none of those companies earned much of anything on their smartphone sales for the quarter. The other profitable phone makers, Huawei ($3.4M) and Lenovo (which apparently hasn't announced earnings yet, but last quarter it reported just short of $1 billion) making it also quite easy to throw in the "makes less than Apple combined" pot, with room for about $2.7 billion left over.

Apple's profitability among phone makers is not exactly a new trend, as detailed by Cannacord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley (below).

Cannacord


Samsung Mobile is most directly comparable to Apple in selling phones, tablets and PCs, although its Mobile group is primarily funded by phone sales. The rest of Samsung Electronics, from appliances to TVs to its chip fab, earns just $3.3 billion more; the majority of all of Samsung's profits all come from phone sales.

That's notable because Samsung has continued to issue warnings to its investors all year, stating that it believes that profits from phones will be increasingly difficult to earn due to intensifying competition.

That's a problem that Apple's chief executive Tim Cook explicitly said he didn't see affecting iPhone sales last quarter, nor going forward into the holidays.

Pay no attention to the icebergs, here's the impressive Titanic!

Strategy Analytics once again defined the conversation by issuing a report for the quarter focusing entirely upon unit shipments and market share, making no mention of the fact that building mobile phones is, in reality, a capitalist enterprise, not an Olympic event showcasing personal achievement.

The firm released its shipment estimates following Apple's announced sales, no doubt because Apple is the only smartphone maker to actually report sales. Were Strategy Analytics to estimate Apple's iPhone "shipments" in advance, they could be compared against real numbers, unlike the estimates of other companies, and of course, "Other."

Assuming that the firm's estimates are close to reality (which the entire tech media did instantly, republishing the report without criticism), that means that Apple's 33.8 million iPhone sales earned more money for the company than Samsung's 120.1 million, Nokia's 64.6 million, LG's 14.4 million and Huawei's 12.1 million phone sales combined.

Again: Apple's sales of 33.8 million iPhones earned more than the combined sales of 211.2 million phones sold by rest of the world's top five phone makers. Apple's sales of 33.8 million iPhones earned more than the combined sales of 211.2 million phones sold by rest of the world's top five phone makers

And no, that's not just smartphones: Strategy Analytics issued its report of "global mobile phones," allowing Nokia to take second place in the Press Release Olympics simply by losing tremendous amounts of money in a commercial failure so epic the group is now being sold off to Microsoft for scrap.

Given that Apple is sitting on $147 billion, an actual journalist might wonder why the company doesn't simply produce tons of "phones" to win this market share race, or why Apple only competes against itself in profits and, conversely, only against the rest of the industry in shipment numbers.

After all, with iSuppli's estimated production costs, Apple could produce 100 million iPhone 5c units for less than $20 billion and compete against Samsung in the "give phones away" business in order to claim the top spot among phone producers. No doubt a lot of Samsung's feature phone and low end Android users would upgrade to an iPhone 5c if it were free!

Incredibly, other companies in the phone business are actually losing money to maintain shipment levels and "growth." In fact, nearly all of them are, and the tech media doesn't seem find this at all unusual.

Share and share not alike

Strategy Analytics also reported smartphone shipments specifically.

In those numbers, Samsung is selling about 2.6 times as many units as second place Apple, which is roughly the same as the production of the next three makers combined: Huawei, LG and Lenovo. The profit numbers don't change however: Apple is still making more profit than Samsung across all of the two firm's comparable businesses, and all other smartphone makers combined hardly even account for loose change in comparison.

But even ignoring profits and looking only at smartphones, Samsung's shipment volume numbers are not really comparable to Apple's iPhone sales in the quarter, most of which were iPhone 5 (and apparently around a third of which were newly launched iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c devices).

Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston noted that for Samsung, "While shipments of the flagship Galaxy S4 model softened, solid demand for the new Note 3 phablet and for mass-market devices like the Galaxy Y helped to lift Samsung's volumes," a quote that was broadly syndicated by CNET and others.

Facts get in the way of a good story

According to Samsung's own earnings report however, in its smartphone business "total shipments [were] up QoQ led by increased sales of mass-market models," while "high-end model shipments stayed at similar level QoQ driven by solid sales of current models with Note III launch."

So despite its Note 3 launch, smartphone sales that Samsung identifies as "high end" were flat. And if you're wondering what the "mass market" Galaxy Y is, it's a 3G-only Android 2.x phone with an ARMv6 chip, 290MB of RAM, a 2MP camera and a 3 inch, 240x320 screen. Those are hardware specs inferior to Apple's iPhone 3G from 2008.

Galaxy Y


This product is where Strategy Analytics says Samsung's growth is coming from, while euphemistically writing that Galaxy S4 sales have "softened." They are in fact so soft that they are on par with last year's Galaxy III. Samsung's modern, iPhone-class phone sales are not growing. They are stagnant.

Note too that last quarter, Samsung described its Galaxy S4 shipments as "solid," the same word it used to describe the Note 3 this quarter. As with the "smooth" Galaxy Tab that was actually as DOA as Steve Jobs predicted, Samsung's buttery shipment descriptions are simply designed to be hard to pin down and, in retrospect, meaningless.

That calls into question why Strategy Analytics finds shipment volumes so interesting to report while never discussing profits, despite being fully aware of the "softening" Galaxy S4 and Samsung's reliance upon "mass market" growth compared to Apple's high end growth that's leading the phone industry. Strategy Analytics actually minimizes Apple's phone sales growth the same way it minimizes iPad sales: by attempting to drown them in a bathtub of liquid shipments.

Apple rapidly outpacing the industry, unless you gerrymander "the industry"

Lance Whitne, writing for CNET, noted that Apple's year over year iPhone sales growth of 26 percent was "faster than that of the overall industry," which Strategy Analytics pegged at just 7 percent.

In its comparison of just the smartphone market, Strategy Analytics is careful to mention that "Apple grew just 26 percent annually during Q3 2013, which is around half the overall smartphone industry average of 45 percent," placing an arbitrary definition boundary between "feature phones" and smartphones, a line that puts Samsung's Galaxy Y on the same level as iPhone 5.

Imagine if the definition of smartphone were "a mid or high level phone that sells at a profit" rather than the arbitrary "Android phones, iPhones and Windows Phones" that the industry likes to use, a definition that includes devices that can barely display a web page and can't really run any modern apps.

"The screen is very low-res so reading websites means a lot of squinting and possibly a headache," CNET's review of the Galaxy Y stated, concluding that "the Samsung Galaxy Y is an okay starter smart phone for kids."Samsung is doing exactly what analysts have recommended for Apple

Strategy Analytics achieves its attention-getting "smartphone shipments" headlines much the same way it gets attention for incessantly maintaining that Apple's iPad market share is falling: by muddling together sales of barely functional, profitless junk and comparing them (sometimes retroactively) against real products that people pay money to use, that businesses use, that schools use, and that people want to use.

It's also noteworthy that Samsung is doing exactly what analysts have recommended for Apple: rushing out Smart TVs, watches and other new devices while pushing down the price of its low end smartphone offerings for emerging markets. The result is that Samsung is making much less money building far more phones and watching its sales trend toward "mass market" low end sales while its high end fails to grow at all.

This all happened before in the PC industry.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 213
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    With sales of "just" 33.8 million iPhones, Apple earned more than Samsung's entire mobile unit (which includes PCs, netbooks and tablets) plus the mobile phone hardware divisions of LG, Nokia, Huawei, Lenovo and Motorola, too.

     

    <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

     
    It's also noteworthy that Samsung is doing exactly what analysts have recommended for Apple: rushing out Smart TVs, watches and other new devices while pushing down the price of its low end smartphone offerings for emerging markets. The result is that Samsung is making much less money building far more phones and watching its sales trend toward "mass market" low end sales while its high end fails to grow at all.



    This all happened before in the PC industry.

     

    If everything already said elsewhere hasn’t convinced you Apple isn’t making a TV, this should.

  • Reply 2 of 213
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,438member

    Love ‘ya, Dan, but you’re preaching to the choir. How do we get the message out to the world when the tech media is saying just the opposite? Someone just the other day casually mentioned to me that “Apple is in financial trouble now.” The misinformation and flat out FUD is everywhere. 

  • Reply 3 of 213
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,673member
    Why is this any surprise to anyone. We are all well verse in Apple and the industries Apple plays in. The number are pretty clear except for the ones analysis make up. Analysis are on focus on one and only one thing which is market share and failure to understand they company with the most money really wins. If they are playing this game with Apple which is extremely high profile and easy to see through the smoke and mirror, imagine what that do in other industries which it is not as easy as cell phone and computer industry to what is happening.

    Analysis have no clue and paint a picture they want everyone to see not reality. They are trying to be a Van Gogh not an Ansel Adams.
  • Reply 4 of 213
    "The result is that Samsung is making much less money building far more phones and watching its sales trend toward "mass market" low end sales while its high end fails to grow at all. "

    WRONG - The Note 3 and GS4(Samsung's "high end") are both selling at a faster rate than the Note 2 and GS3 that came before them.

    Lastly, it's a good thing Samsung sells more than just phones eh?

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/28/5039154/apple-q4-2013-earnings

    http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/24/5026224/samsung-announces-9-56-billion-in-profit-for-q3-2013

    Guess which of the two companies had two billion dollars MORE profit than the other?
  • Reply 5 of 213
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,238member
    Curious that the Galaxy Y received a mention. It was released back in 2011 according to old press announcements. If it still selling well that's quite an accomplishment! Can't cost much to build considering the dated hardware.
  • Reply 6 of 213
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,490member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post



    Why is this any surprise to anyone. We are all well verse in Apple and the industries Apple plays in. The number are pretty clear except for the ones analysis make up. Analysis are on focus on one and only one thing which is market share and failure to understand they company with the most money really wins. If they are playing this game with Apple which is extremely high profile and easy to see through the smoke and mirror, imagine what that do in other industries which it is not as easy as cell phone and computer industry to what is happening.



    Analysis have no clue and paint a picture they want everyone to see not reality. They are trying to be a Van Gogh not an Ansel Adams.

    I would not give analysts the credence of being a Van Gogh.  

     

    Having said that, market share has and always will be a major factor in the analysis of companies.    But having said that, in spite of all the tools now at their disposal, I think analysts have gotten less sophisticated and dumber when they harp on market share to the detriment of everything else, especially profit, return on investment and p/e ratio.

     

    The problem is that Apple, once perceived as the BMW of the computer industry, is now a mass-market consumer electronics company.   So the analysts don't accept the notion that Apple should only be a high-margin, relatively low unit company.    Apple is a victim of its own incredible success.   It's also a victim of its sales channels:  IMO, it was a big mistake for Apple to sell its products via Wal-Mart and other low-end retailers.   IMO, it's a complete conflict with Apple's branding as a luxury product.   And the problem is that it sends the message that Apple is a large volume, mass-market consumer electronics company in which case it should be concerned with market share.

     

    If you really think about it, the changes in a stock's value from day to day, when no earnings report is issued and the market conditions in that industry have not changed, actually makes no sense whatsoever.  

     

    Luckily, Apple doesn't listen to analysts.   There is no good play at the low end.   Apple knows that and Apple has never sought to play there.    Samsung, like most of the consumer electronics companies, does seek to be there.    But Samsung, which actually does do many things right (it killed Sony and Panasonic in the TV industry), will eventually be just like Sony and Panasonic and will have little to no profits.    My prediction is that the South Korean government has to bail out Samsung within ten  years.

     

    As for the article, I think it loses some credibility when it talks about Samsung selling junk.    There are plenty of people using Samsung phones who think that they're perfectly fine.    Someone in my office showed up yesterday with a newly purchased Samsung Pad (which clips to a keyboard) running Win 8 and it actually looked like an ok machine.   This person claimed to love it.   Different strokes for different folks.   Apple doesn't do everything right and sometimes, it's frustratingly stubborn.   

  • Reply 7 of 213
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,615member
    Apple should be more like Amazon - the winningest looser on the block http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/daily-report-investors-love-amazon-com-despite-lack-of-profit/

    Come to think of it - maybe it's a good thing Apple management stays true to its own goals / values.
  • Reply 8 of 213
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member
    It is hard to find truthful accurate informed reporting about anything these days.

    Apple is killing. And yet the narrative is, Apple is wildly failing.

    Even their supposed profit decrease can be easily understood as an increase plus a deferral.

    But that takes five minutes of research and understanding.

    This is the age of, don't think, post. Declare your bias as the truth. Promote your agenda.

    But then it's no surprise. The reading level, patience and critical thinking skills of the average person have decreased. People were smarter when they focused on one thing at a time and read more.

    Posted while simultaneously playing Candy Krush and driving on the freeway.
  • Reply 9 of 213
    Analysts:

    —Apple: Losing because they're winning!

    —Samsung: Winning because they're losing!
  • Reply 10 of 213
    And exactly what happened upon Apple's quarterly earnings? Apple's share price tanked because its earnings weren't good enough. Apple is going to have to add revenue for at least a few more companies if the share price is going to climb. Everyone on Wall Street still believes that Apple's best days are long past. Growing market share is the only criteria that is important on Wall Street and Apple continues to lose market share to every Android vendor on the planet.

    Wall Street knows that Apple's YOY revenue has flat-lined. I'm not sure Apple can do anything about it as long as free Android exists. Apple needs to expand its business further than its mainly hardware business can take it. Samsung is going to continue to flood the mobile market with a hundred million smartphones and tablets until there's no place for Apple to get more revenue from. Samsung is out to break Apple's mobile hardware business and nothing else matters even if Samsung's profits suffer.

    When it comes to Wall Street only market share means success and that's why Apple is seen as becoming a failed company as it continues to lose market share. I've also heard stories that Apple is in financial trouble because both Amazon and Google's share prices have been rising tremendously while Apple's share price remains mostly stagnant. Supposedly where there's smoke, there's fire. All those earnings and yet Apple shareholders continue to get beaten to a pulp. Nobody cares about Apple shareholders, especially Apple.
  • Reply 11 of 213

    One thing that isn't covered in this article is about the impact that Samsung's lowball strategy might be having on Apple's ability to "grow" its smartphone business.

  • Reply 12 of 213
    One thing that isn't covered in this article is about the impact that Samsung's lowball strategy might be having on Apple's ability to "grow" its smartphone business.

    Apple's strategy is the same as it has been for many years: Enter a market that is in disarray where Apple can offer a superior user experience at a premium price.
  • Reply 13 of 213
    [how do I delete posts like this]

  • Reply 14 of 213
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by QwertyJuan View Post

     


    WRONG - The Note 3 and GS4(Samsung's "high end") are both selling at a faster rate than the Note 2 and GS3 that came before them.

     

     

    It doesn't appear that Samsung sees that faster rate as being meaningful or providing enough impact to mention in their own earnings reports. Though I have not viewed that report or the sales figures for GS3/Note 2 versus GS4/Note 3.

     

    "According to Samsung's own earnings report however, in its smartphone business "total shipments [were] up QoQ led by increased sales of mass-market models," while "high-end model shipments stayed at similar level QoQ driven by solid sales of current models with Note III launch."

  • Reply 15 of 213
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post





    Apple's strategy is the same as it has been for many years: Enter a market that is in disarray where Apple can offer a superior user experience at a premium price.

     

    I know all that but how does your comment address the problem concerning smartphone and financial growth that I mentioned in my comment?

  • Reply 16 of 213
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

     

     

    I know all that but how does your comment address the problem concerning smartphone and financial growth that I mentioned in my comment?


    Which part of apples growth is being hindered here??

    and how is it being hindered by (kinda) good sales of a 3 year old phone with lower specs than the 2008 iPhone 3g??

  • Reply 17 of 213
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    News flash: I earned more than Nokia, Motorola and LG combined's mobile divisions combined.
  • Reply 18 of 213
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bananaman View Post

     

    Which part of apples growth is being hindered here??

    and how is it being hindered by (kinda) good sales of a 3 year old phone with lower specs than the 2008 iPhone 3g??


     

    Maybe you don't understand financial reports.

     

    ... or how to comprehend my original comment.

  • Reply 19 of 213

    QuertyJuan - does Samesung pay you to read the articles or just auto-respond?

     

    Just curious.

     

    You link two totally irrelevant links in connection with the words in this article.  The first compares Apple's profits to Apple's profits.  Not Apple's PHONE profits to Shamesung (and rest of the PHONE industry) profits.  See how I all-capped and bolded the word PHONE to possibly help with your apparently limited eyesight?

     

    That basically debunks your second link in that Scamsung reports profit on exactly what you said - everything under the sun.  Toasters, washers, dryers, vacuums, TVs, chip fabrication, manufacturing, oh - and phones and much more.

     

    Either way you slice it 9.5 billion profit on 121 million phones versus 7.5 billion profit on 33.6 million phones is pretty simple math to me.  (Of course not breaking down either companies profit into specific products of any kind.)

     

    Not sure why I am even posting honestly as more than likely it just helps you get paid more by Chumpsung by re-posting more drivel.

  • Reply 20 of 213
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lookforandrew View Post

     

    QuertyJuan - does Samesung pay you to read the articles or just auto-respond?

     

    Just curious.

     

    You link two totally irrelevant links in connection with the words in this article.  The first compares Apple's profits to Apple's profits.  Not Apple's PHONE profits to Shamesung (and rest of the PHONE industry) profits.  See how I all-capped and bolded the word PHONE to possibly help with your apparently limited eyesight?

     

    That basically debunks your second link in that Scamsung reports profit on exactly what you said - everything under the sun.  Toasters, washers, dryers, vacuums, TVs, chip fabrication, manufacturing, oh - and phones and much more.

     

    Either way you slice it 9.5 billion profit on 121 million phones versus 7.5 billion profit on 33.6 million phones is pretty simple math to me.  (Of course not breaking down either companies profit into specific products of any kind.)

     

    Not sure why I am even posting honestly as more than likely it just helps you get paid more by Chumpsung by re-posting more drivel.


     

    You must have missed the preface to those links:

     

    "Lastly, it's a good thing Samsung sells more than just phones eh?"

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