Porter`s 5 forces analysis - nokia - Personal web pages for people of
Porter`s 5 forces analysis - nokia - Personal web pages for people of
Over the past 150 years, Nokia has evolved from a small paper mill in south-western Finland
to a global telecommunications leader connecting over 1.3 billion people.
Nokia has disrupted into various industries before becoming a telecommunications giant from
making rubber boots, car tyres, generated electricity, even manufactured TVs etc.
Nokia’s own mobile phones’ platforms included Symbian (60 & 40), MeeGo (open-source
Linux based platform) and Meltemi (low end Linux based platform)
Nokia announced a Broad Strategic Partnership with Microsoft to build a new Global Mobile
Ecosystem (with Windows Phone) in Feb 2011.
Currently, Nokia’s phones strategy focusses on Windows Phone platform (for Smartphones)
and Symbian 40 (for low-end feature phones segment).
Nokia has decided not to continue development of MeeGo and Meltemi along with divesting
from long time cash-cow Symbain 60 devices.
Main competitors (mobile phone manufacturers) are Samsung (took over Nokia as global
mobile phones market share leader in 1Q12), Apple, RIM, HTC.
© 2012 Nokia
Net sales per region
© 2012 Nokia
Key elements of Nokia’s strategy:
build a new winning mobile ecosystem in partnership with
bring the next billion online in developing growth markets
invest in next-generation disruptive technologies
increase our focus on speed, results and accountability
© 2012 Nokia
Market entry as a global* mobile phone manufacturer is getting extremely tough because of various reasons.
Proprietary learning curve: Mobile phone manufacturing requires patents and proprietary knowledge. Even leading mobile phone
companies are currently engaged in battles over patent issues.
Brand identity and brand switching costs: Brand value is very important for mobile phones sales. E.g. reports have suggested that
HTC which has produced very good devices with excellent hardware specs on top of Android mobile platfrom are struggling to even
maintain the market share. It has been established that it is because of its diminishing brand value. Brand switching is not very
predominant in the industry as a typical smartphone buyer tends to keep the phone for a considerable amount of time ranging
from 1-3 years depending on many factors including country, age, profession, educational level etc.
Battle of Ecosystems: As described by Nokia’s CEO and many other industry analysts that today is the age of battle of ecosystems
and not just mobile phones. So companies like Apple, Samsung and Nokia are considering smartphones business as part of
overall mobile ecosystem consisting of software stack, operating system, applications, application store, 3rd party developers
High expected retaliation: Global market share is currently captured by few leading players. There is expected high retaliation if a
new device manufacturer tries to enter the market and poses a threat to capture the share.
High capital requirements and Economies of Scale: Differentiation factors among mobile phone devices are getting fewer which is
requiring companies investing heavily in R&D costs, marketing spend, PR costs etc. Also, mobile phone production require quite
much capital in place for factory establishment with quite many raw materials, R&D budget, supply channels etc.
Complex distribution channels: Most countries have operator specific ”Walled Garden” approach where operators are the key
driver for mobile phone sales are giving mobile phones along with operator connections. Leading existing players are already
competing for their new device placements via operator deals.
* Global phone manufacturer is referenced here as a manufacturer who is willing to produce and distribute the devices
globally under one brand and not a regional player trying to capture a niche market segment (e.g. Some Chinese
manufacturers trying to capture niche low end segment by providing unstandard)
Low Bargaining leverage: As per Nokia’s strategy, the company is focusing on Smartphones and feature phones
segments that span across multiple price tiers. It’s the smartphones category that has most margins (in which Apple
operates only!) but all the segments have now fierce competition mainly due to the fact that the differentiation in
products is getting tighter across brands.
Increasing Buyer volume: Consumers (end buyers) volume is continuously increasing globally despite recession in
recent years in some regions and saturation in some. Asia-Pacific market (developing countries) is expected to grow at
even higher rate in coming years. The continued fall in handset prices in most segments, notably smartphones, with
devices with greater capabilities now available at a lower price point have also lead to increase in consumer volumes.
Increased price sensitivity: Price differentiation is getting lower and lower as device manufacturers are facing fast
changes in designs, technical and data capabilities leading the buyers to price sensitive in their buying decision. With
lot of Nokia’s competitors offering similar packages, the buyers are seeking out best value for their money.
Low threat of backward integration: Some mobile operators have started building their own mobile phones under their
brand (e.g. Videocon in India) but still have not been hugely popular. So the threat is still low. Most of the mobile phone
manufacturers have their own stores to directly sell to consumers, Nokia is still behind in this area too.
Low Product differentiation: In the cut-throat mobile industry, the product differentiation factors are getting lower. If
when player comes up with a new feature or technology improvement, it is taken by competitive player very soon e.g.
dual-core processors, wide-screen, LTE, etc. Nokia is not market leader in smartphones anymore and are catching up
with the competitors with very low product differentiation factors. Nokia has especially very weak hardware components
differentiation (except for camera).
Low-Medium Consumer’s churn ratio: Many of the consumers are tied into long term contracts so switching from one
handset to another will be difficult and expensive for the consumer, as a result they may not want to change until the
contract is finished.
Supplier concentration: Nokia suppliers for hardware components are not concentrated and there are actually large number of equipment
manufacturers that Nokia could switch to. There is competition among suppliers to cope up with the demand for fast growing requirements
of device manufacturers including Nokia.
High differentiation of inputs: Nokia does not depend on a key equipment manufacturer. It buys different hardware components from
multiple vendors and Nokia possesses its own assembling factories where the devices are assembled.
Moderate impact of inputs on cost or differentiation: There is growing trend of differentiation based on hardware specifications (dual-core
processors, physical memory, NFC support, wide-screen, screen glass etc.) which affects the final selling price and margins. But overall,
mostly margins are dictated by software and application ecosystem.
Moderate switching costs of firms in the industry: Most of Nokia’s competitors are enhancing (not switching) the business model to Tablet
space where they are reusing the software stack, operating system, applications portability, application store, design etc. among other
things to enhance the competitive advantage and binding the users to their brand (and thereby enhancing brand value). Nokia is
pondering over the idea to go into Tablet space but has not make any official announcement yet.
Low bargaining power of suppliers: Even though Nokia is losing it’s market share and brand value seems to be on downward trend but
Nokia is still leading device manufacturer and seller in some countries and among the top with narrow margins in others. Nokia is still in a
very strong position when it comes to bargaining with the suppliers.
Impact of Microsoft as a Strategic Partner and as a supplier: Nokia announced it’s strategic alliance with Microsoft for their software to
build Lumia range of devices for smartphones segment which was considered as a major coup for Nokia than for Microsoft. Microsoft is
providing it’s Windows Phone software for Nokia’s competitors as well as an attempt building up the ecosystem which Nokia is looking as a
positive thing to negate the impact of Android and iOS operationg systems. But if we consider Microsoft as a software (or ecosystem)
supplier and not as a strategic partner, Microsoft’s power over the software is very high because Nokia’s smartphone strategy is solely
based on Microsoft’s platform after Nokia’s decision to discontinue MeeGo and phase out Symbian and no backup or fallback strategy
seems to be in place.
Low Buyer inclination to substitute: Mobile phones have become necessity for
everyday lives of people and its hard to replace with any substitute products
especially when they are away from home.
High switching costs: There exist multiple substitute products e.g. for contacting
people, usage of social media, emails and VOIP systems are substitutes, digital
cameras for photography, TV/radio/iPod for listening music, tablets for internet
browsing, reading books, emailing etc. But potentially all the value from substitute
products could be derived from a single smartphone, needless to say each
substitute product might cost more than the mobile phone and need to be carried all
High price-performance ration (value): No other substitute product has the ability to
make phone calls, send messages, surf the web, reading a book, listening to music,
use GPS services, communicating via social media and many more in one device.
The idea of being in constant communication with someone at anytime and
anywhere makes the mobile phone a very important device to people and the
perceived value by user (price-performance) ratio is very high.
Competitive position: Nokia is losing the cash power it had once. Also the current negative credit reports it faces might result in weakening Nokia’s
innovation engine and affect its competitive ability.
Industry growth: Intense competition is forcing many vendors and operators to drastically change their business models or risk dropping out of the
market as economies of scale, segment leadership, brand power and distribution become key determinants of success.
Low Product differentiation: There is also very little differentiation between the competitors and the loss of market share of Nokia during recent years
means that any new smart phones in the market will find it difficult to tempt existing competitor device consumers to switch.
High margins: The smartphone segment offers the largest returns for many in the mobile value chain, and it has therefore become the most
competitive – attracting all the major vendors competing across various operating systems and price tiers. Huawei has set an ambitious goal for
itself: to ship 60 million smartphones in 2012, an increase of 200% year-on-year.
Brand identity: Brand identity is vital for long term success in mobile phones market. But there is still growing competition e.g. from Chinese
'microbrands' and grey market (mainly in the emerging regions like India).
High diversity of rivals: Over 2011 Nokia’s sales were down 18% in China, 27% in Europe and 61% in North America. Nokia has faced increased
competition from low-cost phone manufacturers such as ZTE and Huawei (mostly in China and Europe).
Low-Medium Consumer’s churn ratio: Many of the consumers are tied into long term contracts so switching from one handset to another will be
difficult and expensive for the consumer, as a result they may not want to change until the contract is finished.