Report: Motorola is Now the Fifth Largest Smartphone Manufacturer in the US
Many smartphone manufacturers have tried to crack the US smartphone market, but very few have succeeded. At one time, HTC was the top Android smartphone manufacturer in the US, but that is now a thing of the past. For the most part, the US smartphone market is a duopoly between Apple and Samsung, as they trade blows with each other with regards to market share. Even established giants such as Huawei have tried and failed to penetrate the market. Motorola, on the other hand, has been planning a comeback with budget phones such as the Moto G5S Plus.
Two years ago, Motorola was in the top five smartphone manufacturers in the US. Since then, however, Apple and Samsung have increased their dominance and managed to push Motorola out of the picture. Things have changed this quarter, as Motorola has managed to almost double its market share in the US year-over-year in the third quarter and return to the top five list. According to Strategy Analytics, Lenovo’s Motorola brand shipped 2.1 million smartphones during Q3 2017, representing a 91% increase over the 1.1 million sold in the same quarter in 2016.
The increase in smartphone shipments makes Motorola the fifth largest smartphone manufacturer in the US for Q3 2017, behind Apple, Samsung, LG and ZTE. It now has a market share of 5.2%, and has been termed a rising star in the report. It’s definitely a huge improvement, but it is worth mentioning that Motorola still ends up behind ZTE, a manufacturer who sells mostly low-end phones for prepaid carriers in the country.
The Strategy Analytics report mentions that “[Motorola’s] recovery has been driven by expanded distribution with all top four US carriers, selling popular new models such as Moto Z2 Play”. The mid-range Moto Z2 Play was the successor to the Moto Z Play, which also was a popular hit in 2016. Even though the Z2 Play featured a smaller battery and did not majorly upgrade the SoC, it seems the blend of specifications, pricing and improved distribution was enough to make the device a strong seller.
However, it’s not all good news for Motorola. A separate report from BayStreet Research states that the Moto Z2 Force only sold 10,000 units through AT&T, the second largest wireless carrier in the US. This was only 10% of the amount of Moto Z2 Force units sold through Verizon, which were 100,000. T-Mobile and Sprint sold 20,000 and 15,000 units of the device over the same period respectively.
This was expected to some extent, as Verizon and Motorola’s Droid partnership means that Motorola smartphones will always be more popular for Verizon customers. However, the amount of units shipped must still be a disappointment for the company as it had decided to bring its latest flagship phone to all four major carriers in the US.
According to the BayStreet Research report, the company also reportedly backed the shatterproof phone with a $200 million marketing campaign. However, at this point, it doesn’t look as if the Moto Z2 Force will able to match the relative success of its cousin lineup, the Moto Z series, unless sales manage to pick up drastically over the next few months.