It seems Lenovo may have scooped up Motorola from Google at just the right time. New reports indicate Moto is making a comeback in the United Kingdom thanks, in part, to the sub-$200 Moto G model.
In fact, Motorola is surging, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest smartphone data, which measures the market for the three months to February 2014, Motorola is surging. The handset maker’s market share has climbed from nearly nothing to 6 percent of British sales in the last six months. That success, Kantar reports, is helping keep Android atop the operating system market in Europe. Android has 68.9 percent there compared to Apple’s 19 percent and Windows 9.7 percent.
“Motorola was nowhere in Europe before the Moto G launched in November last year, but the new model has since boosted the manufacturer to 6 percent of British sales,” said Dominic Sunnebo, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. “It highlights the speed at which a quality budget phone can disrupt a market. The same pattern can be seen in France with Wiko, which has 8.3 percent share, and Xiaomi in China with 18.5 percent.”
Behind the Scenes
So who’s buying the Moto G? Kantar highlights a specific consumer profile among British handset buyers. Specifically, nearly half are between the ages of 16 and 24; 83 percent are male and most are among lower income groups. Forty percent earn under $33,300 (£20,000).
“Consumers are far more tech savvy than they were just a few years ago and the rising commoditization of smartphones means we increasingly rely on online views and handset cost to drive our decision making,” said Sunnebo.
“Some 40 percent of British consumers are heavily influenced by Internet reviews when deciding which mobile to buy and 48 percent of Moto G sales were made online. With virtually no existing customers to sell to in Britain, the Moto G has stolen significant numbers of low-mid end customers from Samsung and Nokia Lumia.”
We caught up with Roger Entner, a principal analyst at Recon Analytics, to get his take on the resurgence if Motorola in the U.K. He told us there’s another reason for the success in the U.K. -- it’s one of the few international markets where Motorola didn’t pull back on its sales operations.
“When people have pay for their own phones, price becomes a key factor. The Moto G is a good, cheap phone so you would expect it to gain more market share there,” Entner said. “The Moto X is also an excellent phone. It should do quite well. I am using a Moto X as my primary device and I love it.”
LG Booming in U.S.
In the U.S., Kantar has a different story to tell. After iOS market share peaked with the iPhone 5S and 5C models, Android is regaining momentum. Android’s share is up 3.9 percent compared to 2013 -- LG is the fastest growing Android brand.
Drilling deeper, LG’s share of the U.S. market has now topped 8 percent. That makes LG the third largest manufacturer by sales volume. LG’s sales over the past few years have been led by low-end to mid-end Optimus models, but Kantar reports the high-end G2 is now dominating.
“The LG G2 marks a significant change in direction for LG, now aiming squarely towards the top end of the market. Customer recommendation figures for the past three months show the LG G2 has the highest rating of any new handset at 9.2 out of 10, followed by the iPhone 5S at 9.1 and Samsung Galaxy Note III at 9.0,” Sunnebo said. “User advocacy is hugely important in mobile and this is great news to help LG maintain its momentum. Selling phones is one thing, getting your buyers to help you sell even more is another.”