Guessing Nokia’s Q1 2012 Windows Phone sales figures

On April 19th, less than 10 days from now, Nokia is going to publish their Q1 2012 financial results. The question on everyone’s mind: How many Windows Phone did these guys sell? Just to recap where we are right now, Nokia started selling the Lumia 800 on November 15th in the UK. When the Finnish handset maker published their Q4 2011 financial results on January 26th, they didn’t actually say how many Windows Phones they shipped during the month and a half that the Lumia 800 was on sale. The exact wording Nokia used was “over 1 million units to date”, that date being the day the results were posted to the internet. Judging by my math, that would mean Nokia sold less than 640,000 devices. Exane BNP Paribas, one of the many analyst firms and investment companies who offered a guess as to how many Windows Phones Nokia would sell, predicted 800,000 units. Their number was the most accurate, but more importantly it was the lowest figure being circulated. Most thought Nokia would sell between 1 million and 2 million Windows Phones.

Back to the question at hand: How many Windows Phones did Nokia sell between the first of January and the last day of March? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say 2.2 million. How did I pull that number out of my ass? By making three assumptions. First assumption, Apple’s share of the smartphone market increases. According to the folks at Strategy Analytics, Apple owned 23.9% of the smartphone market in Q4 2011, and 16.1% of the smartphone market in Q4 2010. That’s a 39% difference. Assuming Apple grows at the same rate, that would mean that their smartphone market share would hit 33.2% in Q4 2011. Second assumption, Horace Dediu is right. Horace is a smart guy who is obsessed with finding out why Apple is so successful. He’s definitely a bit of an Apple nut, but his predictions about Apple’s sales numbers are consistently close to what the company actually reports. Horace says Apple will ship 37.3 million iPhones in Q1 2012. So if Apple owns 33.2% of the market, that would mean the total market size is 112.35 million units.

Third and final assumption, Windows Phone market share hits 2%. What’s 2% of 112.35 million units? 2.247 million units, which I’m going to round down to 2.2 million units.

If I’m right, then whoopie, I’ve successfully figured something out that doesn’t really mean anything in the grander scheme of things. If I’m wrong, then boo hoo, I wasted half an hour of my time that I could have put to better use looking at YouTube videos of cute cats.

What’s your guess?

Update: The numbers are in. I was off by 200,000. I feel awesome!

  • I think the staged releases into markets is brilliant.  Nokia can claim ~1M units in Q4 but I believe the success shown at CES in January has kick started sales from a slow start.  Q1 I would bet is going to be in the 4M range with the 800/710 being rolled out systematically.  Q2 may double that with the launch of the 900 and re-entry into US and China.   Q4 should get a further boost with the release of WP8.  No one said it was going to be easy to grow market share but when you are starting from practically zero, progress is going to be measured in baby steps….

    • Right, your bet is 4 million.

    • Dvvddv

      Seems you join the ranks of intomobile in grossly underestimating Nokia/Windows performance to underachieve. The article is over 10% too high, but you are 100% over.
      I am very curious how the sales are measured. Is it the number of units that left the factory or the number that found their way into the hands of consumers? Since we are doing the guessing game here: I venture that only under 1,5 million handsets actually reached consumers.

  • I agree with your estimates, the numbers look fair. However, one small problem. Windows Phones don’t mean Nokia alone. Q4 last year, about 1.2/1.3 million non-Nokia Phones were sold according to Gartner. So the statement “Third and final assumption, Windows Phone market share hits 2%” should probably read as Third and final assumption, Nokia Windows Phone market share hits 2%”.

    • Fourth assumption: No one gives a shit about non-Nokia Windows Phones.

      • Wrong assumption then. Gartner already said there were over a million non-Nokia phones sold in q4. Anyways since the headline reads “Nokia Windows Phones” it should not matter

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