Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia 900/920 smartphone sales were off to a lightning start, but Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S3 extended their dominance of the smartphones sales in November. The two industry giants topped the charts in Europe and the U.S., according to the latest carrier network statistics as published by Canaccord Genuity.
Analysts T. Michael Walkley, Matthew D. Ramsay, and Siddharth Sinha noted that, despite the overwhelming demand for Nokia corporation (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia 900/20 phones during the early post launch period, the company’s smartphone sales could not rival the massive sales of iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 phones. Additionally, the analysts noted that the high demand for Nokia Lumia phones was halted by supply bottlenecks, resulting in stock-outs.
However, in one of our earlier articles, Deutsche Bank AG (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DBK) (NYSE:DB) analysts, Kai Korschelt and Johannes Schaller earmarked that the demand for Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia phones was actually lower than that of Lumia 800 phones exhibited in 2011.
Additionally, HTC Corporation’s 8X smartphones are believed to have outsold Nokia Lumia 800/920 phones during the month, at both T-Mobile and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ). Moreover, despite showing strong sales on AT&T Inc. (NASDAQ:T)’s network, iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 topped the charts. Overall, Windows Phone smartphones trailed iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S3 sales at Verizon, and Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note II sales at T-Mobile by wide margins.
In the report, the analysts noted, “our November channel checks indicated solid initial sales of Nokia’s Lumia smartphones at AT&T and also in international markets. However, limited initial supply was cited as the reason for early post-launch stock-outs at some carriers versus overwhelming demand”. The analysts were of the opinion that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5, and Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphones may have extended dominant share trends at almost all the tier-1 Western Carriers.
The analysts also noted that the initial stock-out claims at several European carriers were caused by early adopter demand and limited initial supply. The analysts were also skeptical of Nokia’s ability to maintain the early sales momentum. The analysts wrote, “we believe Nokia’s Q4/12 results are tracking in line with its cautious guidance for below-normal seasonal smartphone sales”.
Nokia Corporation has recorded a sequence of losses over the last three quarters, and the analysts predict a similar scenario for the full year 2013. The company has engaged aggressive cost cutting measures to try and reduce expenditures, including staff lay-off closure of some key enterprise centers and long-lived assets divestiture.
The net impact is that Nokia will have to spend a lot of cash in the near term to finance the cost cutting process, while the benefits follow later. This leaves the company’s chances of a profitable 2013 very slim, as the cost cutting is still ongoing. Additionally, the analysts still recommend further cost cutting measures for the Finnish-based mobile phone maker.
Nokia’s market share in the smartphone business is as good as the ability of the Windows Phone platform to gain traction in an industry dominated by Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android OS and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS. Additionally, Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) is launching its BlackBerry 10 smartphones early next year, which would further exert pressure on Windows Phone OS smartphones.
The rush for a third smartphone platform (OS) gears up, but there is a huge mountain to climb, for a third ecosystem, to mount any pressure on the top of two existing ones (Android and iOS). Eric Schmidt of Google once said the rivalry between Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iOS is the defining battle in the technology industry. It will take a while before anyone proves him wrong.
The analysts concluded, “while we are impressed with the new Lumia devices and growing Windows application ecosystem, we maintain our modest Lumia sales estimates and our belief that 2013 remains another challenging transitional year. We maintain our HOLD rating and $3 price target”.
At the time of this writing, Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) stock was trading at $3.28 per share, up $0.02, or a 0.61 percent increase from last week’s close.