Motorola emerged as the third-largest smartphone brand in the US during the year 2021, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Pulse Service. This is the first time that the Chinese smartphone company has entered the top three in the US market for a full year. In 2008, when feature phones were dominant, Motorola was the largest handset (smartphones and feature phones combined) OEM in the US. However, within the smartphone segment, this is the first time ever that Motorola has entered the top three in the US market for an entire year.
Motorola is owned Chinese brand Lenovo. Google sold Motorola to the Chinese PC maker Lenovo for $2.91 billion in 2014, just two years after it acquired the handset maker for $12.5 billion (in 2012). In August 2015, Lenovo announced that it would merge its existing smartphone division, including design, development and manufacturing, into the Motorola’s Mobility unit.
In India, according to Counterpoint Research, Motorola India‘s smartphone shipments declined 70 percent year-on-year (YoY) in 2018. The brand fell from sixth spot in the year 2017 to 12th in the market in 2018. Since then Motorola has not been able to get back in top 5 in the Indian smartphone market which is otherwise dominated by Chinese smartphone brands.
Commenting on the channel dynamics, Senior Analyst Varun Mishra said, “Motorola has grown its market share in the large US prepaid channels (Verizon Prepaid, Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket and Boost) to 28%. Our Consumer Lens research shows Motorola remains a very trusted and known brand. Prepaid consumer studies have shown users look for value, dependability and long battery life. Motorola scores well on these criteria.”
According to the Counterpoint Channel Share Tracker database, Motorola has maintained its momentum in Q1 2022. Mishra said, “Motorola has had a very strong tax season (February-March) in the US market. The brand’s goal for 2022 and 2023 is to grow its volumes in higher price tiers. This will be challenging with the stranglehold Apple and Samsung have on the US market. However, Motorola was very early in releasing 5G and foldable devices. It will attempt to benefit from the US subscriber base transition to 5G as well as the growth of foldables in lower price tiers.”