A Snapshot of the Global Personal Tech Market
For many, it’s become difficult to function in day-to-day life without the use of a mobile phone. The average American checks their phone 96 times a day—that’s once every 10 minutes.
But it’s not just mobile phones that have become increasingly intertwined with our everyday lives. A plethora of accessories and devices, known as smartphone multipliers, have surged in popularity—this market is set to generate $459 billion in revenue by the end of 2020.
Which brands are capitalizing on this lucrative market? Today’s graphic provides a snapshot of the leading tech brands currently dominating the personal tech space, based on the most recent global market share data on shipments and installs.
How the Brands Stack Up, by Personal Tech Device
Though far from exhaustive, we’ve selected a few popular devices to hone in on, providing key insights on some of the top players in the personal tech space as of 2020.
Smartphones are an essential part of the personal tech conversation—by 2025, there will be an estimated 5.8 billion smartphone users worldwide, or roughly 70% of the global population.
|Brand||Global Smartphone Shipments Market Share|
Currently, Huawei and Samsung hold the largest share of the global market, at 20% each. Chinese company Huawei’s dominance is concentrated in its home country, where it captures almost half of smartphone sales. Like Huawei, Samsung’s market dominance is amplified in its home country South Korea, where it makes up 67% of the market.
While Apple lags slightly behind Huawei and Samsung in global sales, the company rules in the U.S., where it captures 46% of market share.
Why isn’t Apple as successful in other parts of the world? A big factor is price. For instance, 90% of smartphones in India cost around $300, while iPhones start at $999.
Smartphone Operating Systems
Of course, smartphones are useless without an operating system (OS). Each smartphone OS essentially acts as your phone’s nervous system, running all applications and programs, as well as managing network and WiFi connectivity.
|Brand||Global Market Share (by units)|
When it comes to the OS market, Google-owned Android dominates by a landslide, making up 74% of global market share. This makes sense, considering that both the leading smartphone companies, Huawei and Samsung, use Android OS on a number of their devices.
However, it’s important to note that newer Huawei phones won’t operate on Android. When the Chinese tech giant was blacklisted in the U.S., it was no longer able to license Android’s OS. As a result, Huawei launched its own HarmonyOS to fill the gap.
Smartphone Application Processors
If a smartphone’s OS acts like its nervous system, then the application processor (AP) functions like a brain. APs handle everything from image processing and graphics to powering your phone on and off.
|Brand||Global Market Share (by units)|
Qualcomm is currently the largest provider of application processors, capturing almost 30% of the global market share. While it currently holds the top spot, its market share has declined since 2019, largely due to a decrease in usage in Huawei products.
After being banned in the U.S., Huawei shifted suppliers for this crucial part. Instead of buying from Qualcomm—an American company—it now relies on HiSilicon, which is based in China.
The wireless headphone market is growing fast—in 2019, it was valued at $2.5 billion. Between 2020 to 2027, it’s set to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.3%.
|Brand||Global Sales Units Market Share|
Apple currently dominates the wireless headphone space, making up over a third of global market share. The company is expected to sell 82 million units by the end of 2020.
Despite this, it’s important to note that Apple’s dominance has decreased significantly in 2020 compared to 2019, when it captured over 50% of the global market. Apple’s decline is likely due to the emergence of cheaper alternatives from companies like Lypertek Tevi or 1More, which offer comparable products at about half the cost of Apple’s AirPods.
Health and wellness have been top priorities among consumers recently, which has had a positive impact on the global smartwatch market—in the first half of 2020, it’s shown a 20% growth in revenue, compared to a year prior.
|Brand||Global Smartwatch Shipments Market Share|
Like wireless headphones, Apple dominates the smartwatch market, in both volume and value. When looking at global shipments in Q2 2020, the company makes up 30% of the market share—however, in terms of revenue, Apple’s piece of the pie rises to 50%.
The Only Constant is Change
It’s clear that no matter who leads the list for each type of personal tech, these spots are never static—there’s always room for disruption.
How long will Apple hold its top spot in the wireless headphone market? Will Qualcomm’s dominance of the AP market continue to shrink?
Things are certain to change—the only question is, how?
Ranked: The Most Innovative Companies in 2021
In today’s fast-paced market, companies have to be innovative constantly. Here’s a look at the top 50 most innovative companies in 2021.
Ranked: the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2021
This year has been rife with pandemic-induced changes that have shifted corporate priorities—and yet, innovation has remained a top concern among corporations worldwide.
Using data from the annual ranking done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) using a poll of 1,600 global innovation professionals, this graphic ranks the top 50 most innovative companies in 2021.
We’ll dig into a few of the leading companies, along with their innovative practices, below.
Most Innovative Companies: A Breakdown of the Leaderboard
To create the top 50 innovative company ranking, BCG uses four variables:
- Global “Mindshare”: The number of votes from all innovation executives.
- Industry Peer Review: The number of votes from executives in a company’s industry.
- Industry Disruption: A diversity index to measure votes across industries.
- Value Creation: Total share return.
For the second year in a row, Apple claims the top spot on this list. Here’s a look at the full ranking for 2021:
|Company||Industry||HQ||Change from 2020|
|3||Amazon||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||--|
|5||Tesla||Transport & Energy||🇺🇸 U.S.||+6|
|6||Samsung||Technology||🇰🇷 South Korea||-1|
|9||Sony||Consumer Goods||🇯🇵 Japan||--|
|12||LG Electronics||Consumer Goods||🇰🇷 South Korea||+6|
|14||Alibaba||Consumer Goods||🇨🇳 China||-7|
|17||Cisco Systems||Technology||🇺🇸 U.S.||-5|
|18||Target||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+4|
|19||HP Inc.||Technology||🇺🇸 U.S.||-4|
|20||Johnson & Johnson||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||+6|
|21||Toyota||Transport & Energy||🇯🇵 Japan||+20|
|23||Walmart||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||-10|
|24||Nike||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||-8|
|25||Lenovo||Technology||🇭🇰 Hong Kong SAR||Return|
|26||Tencent||Consumer Goods||🇨🇳 China||-12|
|27||Procter & Gamble||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+12|
|28||Coca-Cola||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||+20|
|29||Abbott Labs||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||New|
|30||Bosch||Transport & Energy||🇩🇪 Germany||+3|
|32||Ikea||Consumer Goods||🇳🇱 Netherlands||Return|
|33||Fast Retailing||Consumer Goods||🇯🇵 Japan||Return|
|34||Adidas||Consumer Goods||🇩🇪 Germany||Return|
|35||Merck & Co.||Healthcare||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|37||Ebay||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|38||PepsiCo||Consumer Goods||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|39||Hyundai||Transport & Energy||🇰🇷 South Korea||Return|
|41||Inditex||Consumer Goods||🇪🇸 Spain||Return|
|44||Disney||Media & Telecomms||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
|45||Mitsubishi||Transport & Energy||🇯🇵 Japan||New|
|46||Comcast||Media & Telecomms||🇺🇸 U.S.||New|
|47||GE||Transport & Energy||🇺🇸 U.S.||Return|
One company worth touching on is Pfizer, a returnee from previous years that ranked 10th in this year’s ranking. It’s no surprise that Pfizer made the list, considering its instrumental role in the fight against COVID-19. In partnership with BioNTech, Pfizer produced a COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. This is impressive considering that, historically, vaccine development could take up to a decade to complete.
Pfizer is just one of four COVID-19 vaccine producers to appear on the list this year—Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca also made the cut.
Meanwhile, in a completely different industry, Toyota snagged the 21st spot on this year’s list, up 20 places compared to the rankings in the previous year. This massive jump can be signified by the company’s recent $400 million investment into a company set to build flying electric cars.
While we often think of R&D and innovation as being synonymous, the former is just one innovation technique that’s helped companies earn a spot on the list. Other companies have innovated in different ways, like streamlining processes to increase efficiency.
For instance, in 2021, Coca-Cola performed an analysis of their beverage portfolio and ended up cutting their brand list in half, from 400 to 200 global brands. This ability to pare down and pivot could be a reason behind its 20 rank increase from 2020.
Innovation Creates Value
As this year’s ranking indicates, innovation comes in many forms. But, while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there is one fairly consistent innovation trend—the link between innovation and value.
In fact, according to historical data from BCG, the correlation between value and innovation has grown even stronger over the last two decades.
For example, in 2020, a portfolio that was theoretically invested in BCG’s most innovative companies would have performed 17% better than the MSCI World Index—which wasn’t the case back in 2005.
And yet, despite innovation’s value, many companies can’t reap the benefits that innovation offers because they aren’t ready to scale their innovative practices.
The Innovation Readiness Gap
BCG uses several metrics to gauge a company’s “innovation readiness,” such as the strength of its talent and culture, its organization ecosystems, and its ability to track performance.
According to BCG’s analysis, only 20% of companies surveyed were ready to scale on innovation.
What’s holding companies back from reaching their innovation potential? The most significant gap seems to be in what BCG calls innovation practices—things like project management or the ability to execute an idea that’s both efficient and consistent with an overarching strategy.
To overcome this obstacle, BCG says companies need to foster a “one-team mentality” to increase interdepartmental collaboration and align team incentives, so everyone is working towards the same goal.
Timeline: Looking Back at 10 Years of Snapchat
A high level look at Snapchat’s 10-year history, including user growth, innovative product design, and the twists and turns along the way.
Looking Back at 10 Years of Snapchat
Over the years, many ideas have emerged from the dorm rooms at Stanford University, but not all of them evolve into billion dollar companies.
Snapchat, however, has beaten the odds. The company’s stock has recently shot up during the COVID-19 pandemic, a bright spot in a decade of highs and lows.
The graphic above is a high level look at Snapchat’s 10-year history, including user growth and financials. Snapchat’s wild ride from start-up to massive success is well documented, so we’ll focus on key elements of story—product design, the Facebook rivalry—and look at how the company is doing today now that the hype surrounding the app has died down.
But first, a quick history…
Setting the Scene
Snapchat originally began its life as a project called Picaboo in 2011.
Cofounders Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, who were attending Stanford, began building an app that could send photos that disappear after a certain amount of time.
Picaboo was renamed Snapchat in 2012, and by the end of that year, it was clear that the start-up was onto something big. A $13.5 million Series A financing in early 2013 helped fuel the company’s explosive growth.
Positive Momentum: Product Design
One of Snapchat’s biggest strengths over the years has been innovative product design. Many of the features we now see baked into every social app originated from Snapchat.
Here’s a quick rundown of Snapchat’s key feature and product development over the past decade.
Of all the features listed above, the concept of stories is perhaps the most significant contribution to the digital landscape. Disappearing short-form videos started off as a messaging tool, but ended up transforming the way people share their lives online.
As well, the forward-looking acquisition of Looksery in 2015, helped introduce millions of people to augmented reality (AR). AR continues to be a major growth driver for Snapchat today, as advertisers embrace the Lenses feature.
Negative Momentum: Facebook Rivalry
To Mark Zuckerberg’s credit, he realized the potential of Snapchat early.
When the company was only one year old, the Facebook CEO offered the Snapchat founders $60 million to buy the company. When they rejected the offer, Facebook almost immediately launched an app called Poke which was extremely similar to Snapchat’s offering. You’d be forgiven for not knowing what Poke is, as the app received a tepid reception and was quietly shut down in 2014.
“I hope you enjoy Poke.” – Mark Zuckerberg, in an email to Evan Spiegel
For Snapchat, Poke was a blessing in disguise as it brought even more attention to their growing app. Mark Zuckerberg, however, was not done trying to steal the company’s thunder. After offering $3 billion in cash to purchase Snapchat (the offer was once again rebuffed), Facebook copied a number of features from Snapchat and integrated them into Instagram.
Stories were a massive hit for Instagram, and Snapchat, which could not yet match Instagram’s scale, took a big hit. Growth began to slow noticeably after that Instagram update.
Snapchat hit rock bottom in 2018 after shares dropped below the $5 mark, and user growth had stalled out. As well, underwhelming sales of Snapchat’s Spectacles product garnered negative press and hurt the brand’s “cool factor”.
Today though, the situation looks much different. The app still has a strong market share with the younger demographic, and close to 300 million daily active users. Snapchat was one of the many digital companies to benefit from the COVID-19 pandemic (or, at least, the increase in digital content consumption), and the share price has rocketed to new highs. One other promising indicator is the company’s rising average revenue per user, or ARPU.
Of course, as the last 10 years have shown, success is not guaranteed. TikTok is still a significant competitor with a lot of momentum, and tastes can change quickly in the digital world. That said, there is a positive path forward for Snap Inc.
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