Smartphone shipments grew last year, for the first time since 2017

Global smartphone shipments had already begun to shrink ahead of 2020, though two years of a pandemic and the resulting supply chain and chip constraints certainly didn’t help the overall figures. According to a pair of reports from Counterpoint Research and IDC, however, the market finally experienced growth last year for first time since 2017.

Counterpoint puts the overall year-over-year growth at 4%, with a slightly more optimistic 5.7% from IDC. Both firms, however, point to a decline for Q4, at 6% and 3.2%, respectively. The decline was to be expected, of course, given continued chip shortages, which have been having an outsized impact on smaller manufacturers with less leverage over the supply chain than firms like Apple and Samsung.

Both firms put Samsung at top spot for the year, with a 6% increase, and Apple taking the No. 2 spot. The firms also echo a recent report from Canalys that had Apple winning the quarter. Apple confirmed those sentiments with an excellent quarterly earnings report, fueled in no small part by the iPhone’s success.

Image Credits: Counterpoint Research

The company’s iPhone division experienced a 9% y-o-y sales growth, to $71.63 billion. CEO Tim Cook confirmed that supply chain constraints were a continued hurdle for the company, with demand outstripping supply in some markets, but added on a call that he sees issues beginning to lighten, moving forward. Such issues ultimately point to a market that would have otherwise more robustly rebounded.

“The fact that 2021 would have come in drastically higher if it were not for the supply constraints adds even more positivity to the healthy 5.7% growth we saw for 2021,” IDC research director Nabila Popal said in a release. “To me it gives a message that there is significant pent-up demand in almost all regions. Even in China, where there are some challenges around weakening consumer demand, the market performed much better in the fourth quarter than expected, 5% better to be exact, albeit still a year-over-year decline.”

Image Credits: IDC

While China continues to be hit strongly by supply chain constraints, the No. 2 and No. 3 smartphone markets experienced growth in 2021.

“Growth in the U.S. was driven largely by demand for Apple’s first 5G-enabled iPhone 12 series seeping through to the first quarter of 2021; demand which continued throughout the year ending on a strong Q4 thanks to Black Friday and holiday season promotions,” said Counterpoint analyst, Harmeet Singh Walia. “India, too, had a good year due to higher replacement rates, better availability and more attractive financing options in mid-to high-tier phones.”

After nearly a decade of strong growth, a decline in demand grew prior to the pandemic, owing to slowed upgrade cycles, high prices and market saturation. COVID-19 further fueled the slowdown as consumers were less willing to spend. Those issues were further exacerbated by supply chain issues, though pent-up demand and things like 5G have once again spurred interest, though overall shipments still remain below pre-pandemic levels.

Can Amazon’s Product Managers Deliver The Goods?

Amazon is preparing to do battle with UPS and FedEx
Amazon is preparing to do battle with UPS and FedEx
Image Credit: Mike Mozart

As just about everyone knows, you can order anything from Amazon. However, where a lot of us get a bit confused is just exactly how what we order actually gets to our doorstep. Yeah, yeah – for many of us Prime members we know that it will arrive in two days (or less), but just exactly how does it get there? It turns out that the answer to that question has been bothering the Amazon product managers also and so they’ve taken a look at their product development definition and come up with an answer to this issue: Amazon is rolling out their own home delivery service.

The New Amazon Home Delivery Service

Packages can make their way to your house in a number of different ways. Here in the U.S. there are three primary ways for packages to be delivered: via the U.S. postal service, UPS, and FedEx. In many urban areas there is a fourth way also: independent delivery vendors who Amazon has contracted with to deliver packages to your house.

Amazon is getting ready to upset the status quo by introducing its own home delivery service. In order to make this new delivery service a success in an already crowded market, Amazon is planning on trying to steal customers away from UPS and FedEx. The way that they want to accomplish this is by trying to solve two common customer complaints: fuel surcharges and various extra fees that end up driving up the cost of delivering a package to a home. If Amazon can get rid of these charges, then their product managers will have something to add to their product manager resume. This new service will be called “Amazon Shipping” and has initially been testing in Los Angles and London.

The service that Amazon is planning on offering to their customers involves having Amazon pick up shipments from merchants’ warehouses and deliver them directly to the customers who bought them. This type of end-to-end service works well with the types of products that Amazon sells on its web site.

How Amazon Thinks That It Can Win The Delivery Battle

Amazon has a plan for getting people to sign up for its new delivery service. Amazon is promising that they will do away with many of the charges that traditional package delivery services charge in order to boost their revenues. These charges can include such items as extra charges to delivery packages to homes during peak holiday seasons or on weekends. By offering guaranteed service with none of the standard surcharges Amazon is hoping to undercut the existing delivery service market.

Surcharges can total US$3.80 per package at FedEx and $3.95 at UPS. The result of this addition is that the cost of delivering a package can increase by up to 40%. Delivery fees at FedEx are typically $8.81 and $8.71 at UPS. Standard package delivery services also impose a fuel surcharge that tends to fluctuates with market fuel prices. Currently, fuel surcharges are 5% at FedEx and 7% at UPS. UPS is also known for imposing additional surcharges for delivering packages during the holiday season.

People who have had a chance to take a look at Amazon’s shipping rates say that they are averaging roughly 10% lower than UPS and FedEx. Amazon’s delivery service has been designed to deliver packages to homes, not businesses. What this means is that the costs of residential delivery are factored in from the start and this eliminates the need for a surcharge. The Amazon product managers are choosing now to introduce this service because they want to deliver more of their own packages and they’d like to be less reliant on the U.S. postal service as well as UPS and FedEx. The reason that they are trying to do this is because everyone’s rates keep increasing by about 5% annually.

What All Of This Means For You

The Amazon product managers have a real challenge on their hands. Amazon has become the place that everyone goes to place their online orders. After the orders have been placed, the real challenge begins: the products have to be delivered to your doorstep. This is where the Amazon product managers are going to have to take a look at their product manager job description and become clever.

Currently, Amazon products are being delivered to people’s homes using one of three main services: the U.S. postal service, UPS, or FedEx. Additionally, 3rd party delivery services can be used in some urban areas. Amazon is going to introduce its new delivery service and they hope to make it successful by stealing customers from both UPS and FedEx. Amazon hopes to win over customers by doing away with fuel surcharges and other extra fees. Amazon will pick products up from warehouses and deliver them to customer’s homes. Amazon hopes to win over new customers by promising to do away with all extra fees. Surcharges and fuel charges can easily cause the cost of delivering a product to double. Amazon’s service will focus on delivering packages to residential homes and the service has been designed to do this and so no extra surcharges are required.

Creating their own home delivery service sure seems like it is a natural extension of what Amazon does. Since getting the packages that are in its warehouse to customer’s homes is such a critical part of their job, taking over the delivery service is one way that Amazon can keep control over rising delivery prices. This is a crowded market and all three of the main players will not sit still as Amazon enters this market. Things are going to change and we’re going to have to see if Amazon’s new service is going to be nimble enough to deal with everything that will be thrown at it.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that it is smart for Amazon to try to get into a new market that has three strong players already?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Restaurant product managers have a difficult job these days. It has always been a challenge to get people to come to your restaurant and spend money. However, with the arrival of food delivery services that will now take a restaurant’s food to anyone’s home, things have become even more complicated and it may be time for them to change their product development definition. The challenge and expense of running a restaurant while at the same time trying to make money from supporting a take-out operation has become a very challenging thing for any product manager to do. That’s why some product managers have come up with a radical new way to solve their problems.

The post Can Amazon’s Product Managers Deliver The Goods? appeared first on The Accidental Product Manager.

Indonesian logistics platform Logisly raises $6 million Series A to digitize truck shipments

Indonesia’s logistics industry is very fragmented, with several large providers operating alongside thousands of smaller companies. This means shippers often have to work with a variety of carriers, driving up costs and making supply chains harder to manage. Logisly, a Jakarta-based startup that describes itself as a “B2B tech-enabled logistics platform,” announced today it has raised $6 million in Series A funding to help streamline logistics in Indonesia. The round was led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.

This brings the total Logisly has raised since it was founded last year to $7 million. Its platform digitizes the process of ordering, managing and tracking trucks. First, it verifies carriers before adding them to Logisly’s platform. Then it connects clients to trucking providers, using an algorithm to aggregate supply and demand. This means companies that need to ship goods can find trucks more quickly, while carriers can reduce the number of unused space on their trucks.

Co-founder and chief executive officer Roolin Njotosetiadi told TechCrunch that about “40% of trucks are utilized in Indonesia, and the rest are either sitting idle or coming back from their hauls empty handed. All of these result in high logistics costs and late deliveries.”

He added that Logisly is “laser focused on having the largest trucking network in Indonesia, providing 100% availability of cost-efficient and reliable trucks.”

Logisly now works with more than 1,000 businesses in Indonesia in sectors like e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods (FCG), chemicals and construction. This number includes 300 corporate shippers. Logisly’s Series A will be used on growing its network of shippers and transporters (which currently covers 40,000 trucks) and on product development.

The startup’s clients include some of the largest corporate shippers in Indonesia, including Unilever, Haier, Grab, Maersk and JD.ID, the Indonesian subsidiary of, one of China’s largest e-commerce companies.

Other venture capital-backed startups that are focused on Indonesia’s logistics industry include Shipper, which focuses on e-commerce; logistics platform Waresix; and Kargo.