So, Nokia Lumia 800 sales are disappointing, some analysts say. Perhaps.
But what does it mean, really? For sales to be disappointing we first have to set some realistic expectations of what they should have been. And then see whether Nokia exceeded, met or missed them.
So how many Lumia 800s and Lumia 710s can we expect Nokia to ship in Q4 2011?
Lets take a closer look at where and how Nokia is selling Lumia 800 right now. To create the table below I went through online stores of all operators in the initial Nokia Lumia 800 launch countries, and compared the prices at which it is sold there, to the prices of the competing flagships – Samsung Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4/4S.
(All prices are in Euro. They show monthly costs of the cheapest 2yr plans, at which Lumia 800, Galaxy S2 and iPhone is offered for free. For comparison purposes, when free option was not available, the initial subsidized price was split over 24 month period and added to the monthly plan cost.)
Some interesting highlights from the exercise:
U.K. is by far the toughest and most competitive market for Lumia 800. And Samsung is really gunning for Nokia there by dropping the price of it’s Galaxy S2 flagship 14% – to £31- compared to Nokia’s £36 (42/36EUR) on Vodafone and and Orange U.K. If you had any doubts that this low Galaxy S2 price is aimed squarely at Nokia, check the prices on T-Mobile and O2 U.K. On those networks Lumia 800 is not available and there is no need for any price war on Samsung’s part. So the cheapest plan you can get free Galaxy S2 on T-mobile starts at £35.75, and at £39 on O2 UK.
While iPhone 4S is a truly premium device and probably not in direct competition with Lumia 800, both in U.K. and Germany Nokia phone competes directly with iPhone 4 8GB on price. Price differences between Lumia and iPhone 4 in France are pretty minor too, and makes both those handsets direct competitors.
It seems that Nokia Lumia 800 did not start shipping in Spain yet. It is not available in operator online stores, and only Orange Spain has Lumia on pre-order
For TIM Italy there’s only unsubsidized device prices, since its site made their plans and/or subsidy schemes impossible to figure out. But the unsubsidized price might be a good indicator of the competitiveness of Nokia device, when it launches in less operator dominant markets like India, Russia, Hong-Kong and Singapore. Nokia Lumia 800 is 100 EUR cheaper than Galaxy S2, 150 EUR cheaper than iPhone 4S and 50 EUR cheaper than iPhone 4.
I am not sure what Nokia meant when they said they have 31 operators in 6 launch countries on board for Lumia. Maybe they had MVNO’s in mind. For now Nokia Lumia 800 is available only on 14 operators in 5 European countries. And even if they get all Spanish carriers on board – that will bring operator count to 18. But overall, Nokia Lumia network coverage is pretty decent. It is available to 52% of mobile subscribers in U.K, 69% in Germany, 72% in Netherlands, and it’s on all networks in Italy and France.
So what can we learn about possible new Nokia Windows Phone sales in Q4 2010 from above?
First we will need some some starting point to see what kind of sales numbers Nokia is able to deliver for its major device launches. And they have conveniently provided us with just such a number, with Symbian^3 launch in Q4 2010.
Back then Nokia had 2 S^3 handsets – N8 and C7 – shipping the whole quarter, and added limited numbers of the third- C6.01 – in the middle of November. It was a global device launch, with N8 and C7 becoming available in most Nokia markets sometime during the same quarter. The results? Nokia was able to ship 5 million S^3 smartphones in three months. There were some unconfirmed reports that 4 million of them were Nokia N8.
Let’s compare that with Lumia launch. While Nokia is not making it’s first Windows Phones available globally, the countries where they do ship, usually make up about 50% of Nokia smartphone sales. With half of the market area covered, wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect 2.5 million Lumia devices to ship in Q4?
Last year Nokia had about 1 million in N8 pre-orders before the first handset shipped. Also they had 12 weeks of sales, compared with only half of that or less this year. What’s worse, at least half of the current Windows Phone target market won’t get their Lumias until sometime in December. And even in Europe, Lumia is not yet shipping in Spain.
Given these limitations I will be hugely surprised if Nokia will be able to ship anything close to 2 million Windows Phones this year. And numbers between 1 and 1.5 million Lumias shipped – will be an extremely good result for them. Much more realistic expectation, and and OK result for Nokia, will be between 750K and 1 million NWPs . And, given the promotion and marketing budgets they are throwing at this thing, if they can’t make it to 750K new smartphones by the end of the year, that will be a failure and a disappointment to me.
What about you. How many Lumia’s do you expect Nokia to ship?