After a 17-month long tenure as a Google company, Motorola was sold to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo on January 29, 2014. After helming the positive turnaround of IBM’s PC business, Lenovo is hoping to build upon Motorola’s recent innovations and gain a significant foothold in the smartphone market. Already, analysts have pointed to Lenovo’s acquisition instantly having made the company the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer. Yet, despite some positive signals, Web usage statistics point to Motorola having several hurdles to overcome in order to pose a serious challenge to Apple and Samsung within North America.
To quantify this study, Chitika Insights analyzed tens of millions of Motorola smartphone- and tablet-based online ad impressions within the Chitika ad network. The data set analyzed consisted of impressions catalogued from January 17 through 23, 2014. Usage shares of individual smartphone and tablet models were called out in each respective graph.
As seen above, more than 53% of Motorola smartphone Web traffic in North America is generated by users of Droid Razr devices. This hefty share is largely understandable, as there have been several Droid Razr models released since the original version debuted in November 2011. The entire Razr line is sold exclusively through Verizon in the U.S., benefitting from the carrier’s focused marketing push for the devices over the past several years. Looking at the larger picture, Motorola devices generate about 3.5% of North American smartphone Web traffic overall, meaning that the 53.1% share equates to about 1.9% of total continental usage being driven by Droid Razr users.
While the data point to the Droid Razr lineup having been well received as a whole, the upcoming challenges for the company are exemplified when comparing the usage tallies of two of Motorola’s most recent flagship product lines – the Moto X and Droid Ultra/Maxx.
The Moto X was the first phone from Motorola with Google’s proverbial “fingerprints,” including better language processing, changing notification behavior based on location context, along with more co-branded marketing activities. But despite having been available on all major carriers for some time now, Moto X users generate about the same level of traffic (5.6%) as Droid Ultra/Maxx devices (5.9%) – two Verizon-only phones that came out around the same time. While the delay in the Moto X MotoMaker feature for carriers outside of AT&T may have impacted sales, it’s clear that Moto X hasn’t elicited a response from consumers on par with the critical praise the phone received at launch.
The company’s latest chance to regain market share is with the release of the low-cost Moto G, which is widely regarded as the best budget smartphone on the market. However, the usage figures thus far don’t show a great deal of momentum following the phone’s release on Boost Mobile and Verizon in early January 2014. Moto G’s 0.7% usage share amongst Motorola smartphones places it below the more than two-and-a-half year old Droid 3, although the release was limited within North America. While the Moto G certainly has international appeal, it’s also possible that Lenovo may shift Motorola’s mobile strategy away from these type of smartphones as it takes control of the company.
The tablet marketplace is one that has largely been abandoned by Motorola since its initial plays in the space earlier in the decade. The company’s last tablet releases, the 10.1- and 8.2-inch Xyboard, debuted in late 2011, and overall, the company’s devices generate 0.3% of North American tablet Web traffic. Looking at the company’s current slate of tablet offerings, the clear majority of Motorola’s North American Web traffic is generated by users of the Xoom, a device released in early 2011.
While it’s unclear what Lenovo’s plans are for future Motorola-branded tablets, the Chinese computing giant certainly hopes that its ownership of Motorola will help jump start its aspirations in the smartphone space. In the coming months, how the company positions the future of Motorola, both in terms of the brand and its product portfolio, will have dramatic implications on the future of the mobile marketplace. Lenovo will likely try to recreate the magic it was able to capture in its revival of IBM’s PC business, which now ranks as the largest worldwide. For now, the usage statistics point to a company with a variety of strengths and weaknesses in the North American device market.