WORLD'S REAL GIANTS: NOKIA AND SAMSUNG
Let's start with Nokia. By the end of the year, there will be 1.8 Billion Nokia branded phones in use worldwide. There is one Nokia phone for 27%, almost a third of the total planet's population. No consumer brand has ever been as widely spread as Nokia is today. This is the first time in the planet's history, that one brand has an active user base of more than a quarter of the total population of our world. Yes, Nokia is suffering this year with its smartphones strategy but as a consumer electronics brand, it utterly dwarfs such traditional giants as Sony, Panasonic, Philips etc. Oh, and Nokia will pass a production milestone of 3.5 Billion phones manufactured in its history, so again, if we count all phones with a Nokia logo, including countless millions no longer in use - there would be a Nokia phone for half of the planet's population alive.
But then what of number two? Samsung has started to motivate its staff that their target is to overthrow Nokia and become number 1. Samsung has been growing its market share quite strongly recently. It is not beyond feasibility, that they might end the year with about 23% market share for the full year 2011. Then counting back over the past few years, the total installed base of Samsung branded mobile phones in use would pass 1 Billion. If that doesn't happen this year, it will happen next year. Consider Timex, who sold a little over 1 Billion of its wristwatches. They did it over a 50 year span, and at no point in time, was there a Timex ticking on a Billion wrists. Or Sharp, who invented the electonic desk calculator. Counting all Sharp branded pocket calculators and desktop calculators they ever manufactured, they recently celebrated their 1 Billion milestone. But never 1 Billion used at the same time. Any other tech? Only measured in the hundreds of millions if we look at things like the Sony Walkman. But Samsung will shortly have 1 Billion active users of their mobile phones. Quite a milestone indeed.LIMITED BY LITERACY: 4.5B WILL USE SMS
If we project SMS user base growth to this year, using last year's growth rate, we'd be near 4.8 Billion or even 4.9 Billion. But the reality of human kind is now factoring into SMS. We are at the limits of literacy. In Europe 85% of mobile phone subscribers are active users of SMS, in some Asian countries like China it's at 90%, so the organic growth is nearing its limits. Even the laggards, USA and Canada are catching up; the USA is already past 74% in active users. And then we go to places like Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, etc and we do find that SMS is used by the literate parts of the population, and growth is slowing as we approach national illiteracy levels. I do project SMS user growth, but this is the first year that I am seriously reducing my projection to far less than the historical average, simply because of literacy reasons. SMS growth will come to an end during this decade and the first signs of the growth slowing down - will finally (probably) be seen this year. And if not, nobody would be happier than me to be wrong on this. But I am now projecting we'll hit about 4.5 Billion active users of SMS, the most widely used data application on the planet, obviously.
In regards to SMS, the service is increasingly now being 'discovered' by traditional media brands and I see SMS adoption in all sorts of industries from game shows on TV (Deal or No Deal in America earned 56 million dollars out of SMS votes last year, so it's no longer just 'American Idol' who know how to use SMS in American TV - countries like U.K., Germany, Croatia, Sweden - all switched their reality shows to SMS voting) to Top 40 style pop music hit shows, that receive tens of thousands of SMS votes to suggest which song is the most popular radio hit of the week. The same goes for SMS in advertising, just last week New Media Age of the UK reported, that after a decade of using SMS (and MMS) in advertising, such major UK advertisers as Domino's Pizza and Coca Cola are still increasing their use of SMS! Domino's went so far as to call SMS on par with the most effective ad platforms and by far the fastest. So don't think for one moment that the use of SMS as a media channel will slow down any time soon (do you have SMS central to your mobile strategy?).MMS PASSES 2.4B
The second most widely used data platform is not the Internet, it is not Facebook or Twitter or YouTube or Google etc. It is MMS, not just 'picture messaging' but literally MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. Multimedia. Not just pictures, but also sounds, also video clips and also longer texts than 160 characters of SMS. I am teaching in my media and advertising workshops that MMS is the media brand's dream, the ultimate interactive multimedia - media - platform. Better even than SMS! And its user base keeps expanding. We passed two billion active users last year; should hit 2.4 Billion by the end of this year. Note that MMS is twice the size of global e-mail, nearly four times bigger than Facebook. And the content providers love it. The US TV show Pretty Little Liars experimented with MMS last year, got 12% of its audience to sign up for weekly updates including a preview of the next episode, sent via MMS. This as an 'experiment' by the ABC TV network. In Asia MMS revenues already exceed SMS revenues and in many markets like China, MMS is a standard staple in the media landscape. In Europe, it's a patchy world, with Norway at one extreme (84% users use MMS), but in other countries like Germany - very low numbers still. My media contacts tell me that the USA now leads
Europe in the use of MMS by media brands, and I am not surprised. The Americans are fast to smell money, and MMS is all about the money! Like I keep saying, Mobile is the Magical Money-Making Machine!M-NEWS, MOBILE ADVERTISING - mAD
The world is loving mobile as a news channel, it is the news brands who struggle to capitalize on it. But m-news is growing by leaps and bounds. By the end of the year we will have 2.5 Billion consumers who are actively receiving news on their phones - most of those will be paid news, most of the news will be on SMS and MMS, not via smartphone apps (yet). But note, already this summer we will pass the point where a third of the planet consumes news on a phone. Not a 'third of mobile phone owners' - I mean literally, a third of the planet. I teach to Western audiences that mobile is the 7th mass medium, but in the Emerging World mobile is not the seventh, not the fifth, third or second. It's not even the first medium - for many media consumers in the less affluent countries, mobile is the only mass medium! If you want to know the cricket score in India, odds are you will find it on your phone, not via a newspaper, TV, radio or the Internet...
And where there is media, there is advertising. Mobile advertising is in silly growth stage right now. Every major credible media and advertising exec is falling over each other to give ever more bullish forecasts about how much advertising and marketing will transit phones this year. I am projecting the total number of mobile phone users who will receive ads on their phones will hit 3.7 Billion people. By the summer, we'll be at the point, where half of the planet's population will have seen ads on their phones. This is twice the reach of ads on TV and 7 times more than the daily circulation of all newspapers. I have no numbers of the use of advertising on radio (not all countries and all radio networks have advertising) but the total number of radio receivers worldwide is 3.9 Billion and certainly not all of them will be used to receive ads. So if you're an ad-man, you need to become a mAd-man (or woman...). I think it's apropos that the heart of the advertising industry is Madison Avenue of Manhattan, as the ad industry now is migrating to the mAd industry.TANTALIZINGLY CLOSE TO ONE TRILLION U.S. DOLLAR REVENUE
Mobile industry is already a Trillion-dollar industry and it is not the only trillion-dollar industry (think of oil etc.). However, mobile industry is the one reaching that massive milestone the fastest, meaning mobile is literally the fastest-growing giant industry in the economic history of mankind. But that number today includes services, handsets, and networks (and accessories, apps etc). The 'services' part of mobile - our voice calls, SMS text messages, mobile internet access, etc - even when we remove the costs of the handsets and network infrastructure, is shortly going to be worth one Trillion dollars. I think we will not hit that level this year, we will fall a couple of Billion dollars short of the big T, but it will be tantalizingly close to a Trillion. And some analysts may actually call it at a Trillion this year. I think we'll pass that next year, but we have to see. That time is very near.MOBILE VAS $100B
The messaging services will approach $190 Billion in service revenues this year, will pass 200 Billion dollars in 2012. But the 'non-messaging' premium data services will hit a massive milestone this year, passing 100 Billion dollars in total value. That is like three times Hollywood or almost as big as global radio, and yes, far bigger already than the size of content revenues (including advertising) on the internet.MORE INFO
This was a preview of big numbers coming for 2011. For those who need more numbers, and the 'real' numbers of today, rather than the projected numbers of tomorrow, remember my two resources for you. The latest annual edition of my Almanac, the TomiAhonen Almanac 2011 has all the latest stats for the total mobile industry effective January 1, 2011. It has 94 tables and charts. And for those who are specifically interested in the handset market, last year I released the first edition of my Phone Book, a statistical review of smartphones, dumbphones, featurephones, installed bases, market shares etc relating to handset market. Both eBooks are formatted for small screen and cost only 9.99 Euros. Take a look at TomiAhonen Almanac 2011
and TomiAhonen Phone Book 2010
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