Lenovo targets those too poor to afford Apple’s iPhone

“Chinese multinational Lenovo recently announced a unique smartphone business strategy that is based on reaching markets where Apple has not been selling many iPhones, reports Bloomberg,” Nathanael Arnold reports for Wall St. Cheat Sheet.

“Lenovo plans to triple the number of smartphone markets that it serves within the next several quarters by expanding to emerging markets where most consumers can’t afford Apple’s relatively pricey iPhone,” Arnold reports. “One Asian market where Lenovo has been particularly successful is Indonesia, where it seized 13 percent of the market share in just 12 months. Lenovo hopes to repeat that success in 20 new markets that it will soon serve in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East.”

“Although Apple only had a 25.7 percent year-over-year growth rate, the iPhone maker still outsold Lenovo with 33.8 million units shipped in the quarter,” Arnold reports. “Meanwhile, Samsung maintained its position as the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor with 40.5 percent year-over-year growth and 81.2 million units shipped.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Lenovo has no ecosystem of which to speak and therefore do not care what happens to the end user as long as they make their tiny margins on the crap to which they shackle their poor customers. “Get ’em then forget ’em” ought to be Lenovo’s company motto.

As we wrote in September:

Asking Apple to produce cheap iPhone in a profitless unit share chase is ridiculous. Why rack up cheap customers who do not buy apps, TV shows, movies, music, and, certainly not, extras like iTunes Match? It makes no sense when you already are developers’ first choice. Smart developers create apps for Apple iOS products for the same reason they do for Mac: Apple has the best customers who are willing to pay for software (see related articles below).

Oh, some say, developers will stop developing for iOS first and switch to fragmandroid because of sheer numbers. No, the smart developers won’t.

One non-paying, piracy-loving user is the same as one billion of them: Worthless to developers.

We look at the choice of personal computer, tablet, portable media player, and smartphone purchases as an IQ test. It’s pass/fail. You can either understand a simple value equation or you’re too stupid. It’s very useful in a coffee shop or an airport; you know instantly who’s worth talking to. (Now, listen, smart people can make mistakes. That’s why we always ask people how they like their Android phones before we try to help them. If you screwed up and saddled yourself with a Windows PC or an Android phone, it’s never to late to wise up.)

The quality of the customer matters. Apple understands this implicitly.

There is no good reason for Apple to make a cheap iPhone. It would only dilute the brand and cause 100x the work for too little, or actual damage, in return. In this case, unit share is nowhere near as a valuable as some Wall Street analysts and Apple pundits would have us believe.

As we wrote back in November 2012:

It’s the marketing, stupid.

Android is pushed to users who are, in general:

a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar ($100 Gift Cards with Purchase) offers.

Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskate freetards just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle building powders or grease monkey overalls.

Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong. Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.

iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the Hee Haw demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.

Related articles:
Android phones 3 times more likely than Apple iPhones to have been bought at discount store – August 22, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013
Apple’s iPhone generates more in carrier fees than rival smartphones – January 30, 2013
Unsurprisingly, survey says Apple’s iOS is highest priority among mobile developers – January 23, 2013
People buy more Android phone units and do less with them vs. Apple’s revolutionary iPhone – November 14, 2012
Study: iPad users more likely to buy – and buy more – online than traditional PC users – September 29, 2011
iPhone users smarter, richer than Android phone users – August 16, 2011
Yankee Group: Apple iPhone owners shop more, buy more, remain more loyal vs. other device users – July 20, 2010
iPhone owners more likely to pay for digital content – November 26, 2009
Study: Apple iPhone users richer, younger, more productive than other so-called ‘smartphone’ users – June 12, 2009
Apple iPhone users buy many more apps, surf the Web much more than other ‘smartphone’ users – March 27, 2009
NPD: Mac users significantly more likely to pay for music than Windows PC owners [updated] – December 19, 2007
Report: Apple iPod owners buy more music – September 19, 2006
Study shows iPod owners significantly less likely to steal music than the average person – January 13, 2006


  1. Not sure whe this happened but the classist perspective is offensive and annoying, MDN. Remember when Apple products were strongest in education and creative work, and thinking different? I have no problem with you sh****ng on products and companies but now that Apple is king it’s about money and IQ?

  2. Shipped vs sold, apple to oranges. I call bullshit again and again and again.

    “Make sure we hind those return numbers and don’t forget to hind how many of the shipped numbers were replacement phones. Just report shipped and it will make us look good because it’s all about market share.”

  3. Some companies have to scratch out sales from anywhere or anyway they can. That’s the only way for such a business to survive. Not every company can afford to pick and choose customers as Apple prefers to do. Most of the people in the world can’t afford to buy all the things they would like to have.

  4. the axiom “half the people you meet in life will be below average” is manifesting itself today on this page

    personally I’d rather fly with eagles than run with turkeys

  5. Apple is starting to have one big advantage in the 3rd world, that Lenovo and Samsung can NOT TOUCH.

    Resales of “old” Apple 3 & 4 versions that no one wants in the US and EU are still valuable and highly functional even though they are 3-4 years old.

    My guess is that the 3rd world people who will find older iPhones most valuable are the people in their own business who value the Apple business advantages they get.

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