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Nokia's budget Asha series smartphones are believed to be the key player in the company's Q4 strong sales.
Nokia recently announced its preliminary financial information for Q4 2012 and preliminary outlook for Q1 2013, which revealed a tremendous growth for the Finnish company in the last quarter and predicted similar growth in the near future. The surge, unexpected for many industry pundits, was driven by its Devices & Services division, with generally and strong Lumia sales particularly. Nokia's Q4 sales, however, was also propelled by the company's low-end and multitouch Asha-series smartphones.
AllThingsD, in its report cites figures provided by Nokia. The report highlights the company shipped 9.3 million Asha smartphones in Q4 as compared to 4.4 million Lumia devices during the same period. The official figures from Nokia say its total smartphone volumes of 15.9 million units composed of 9.3 million Asha full touch smartphones, 4.4 million Lumia smartphones and 2.2 million Symbian smartphones. Also, smart devices net sales of approximately EUR 1.2 billion, with total volumes of 6.6 million units of which 4.4 million units were Nokia Lumia smartphones. Read Nokia's complete preliminary financial information for Q4 2012 and preliminary outlook for Q1 2013 here.
The figures show Nokia has very well managed to sustain its hold particularly in the emerging markets, dominated by Google's Android and RIM's BlackBerry even as the company faces a tough battle in the Western markets. With the Lumia series, the company now aims to take on the flagship devices from the top players - Apple and Samsung.
“Some countries, like China, appear to be “game, set, match” for Android, while others like Indonesia are heavily BlackBerry,” AllThingsD quotes Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt as saying.
“Asha is interesting for Nokia because in many of these markets Nokia’s brand is very strong and Symbian devices used to sell very well. India, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America are examples of of regions and countries where Nokia likely has a strong opportunity with Asha, but even in these markets android phones are growing rapidly as well.”
The report notes the Asha series could be Nokia's 'bread and butter' while it makes efforts to spur demand for the Lumia series. “The growth in Asha from Q3 to Q4 was impressive, but Nokia has had a history of heavy shipment volume in emerging markets in fourth quarters followed by weak first quarters. So it’s probably a bit early to declare victory for Nokia against low end Android competitors in emerging markets,” observes McCourt.
Nokia is currently riding high on the strong sales of Asha and Lumia smartphones. However in the long-term, the company has to continue to focus on Lumia smartphones to up its revenue. With Lumia smartphones being high-end and priced steeply, the company has more profit opportunities whereas in case with the Asha phones, which are mainly budget ones, the company will have to work on the quantity.
The Finnish mobile giant could learn from Samsung's successful model where the Korean company is tapping the high-end smartphone markets with the devices like Galaxy S III and Note II, while at the same time delivering to emerging markets budget and dual-SIM smartphones across price points.