HTC's market share continues to drop; can this company be saved?

HTC's market share continues to drop; can this company be saved?
HTC has a major problem on its hand. According to industry analysts, the manufacturer has seen its global smartphone market share shrink to less than 2%. That is down sharply from a peak of 10.7% seen in the second quarter of 2011. HTC itself estimated that it held a 2% share in 2013. The problem doesn't seem to be with its products. After all, many called the HTC One (M8) the best Android handset at the time it was released earlier this year.

What is the problem? 1.5 billion smartphones are expected to be sold next year, and apparently HTC isn't delivering what the people want. Or is that really the issue? How can you explain the positive reaction to the HTC One (M8) while the company loses market share at the same time? It isn't as though HTC didn't listen to its customers. It boosted the CPU on the (M8) and added a microSD slot to the device.

While researchers can continue to give their reasons for HTC's decline, we continue to come back to the absolutely poor job of marketing that the manufacturer has done in an effort to sell its phones. With the HTC One (M7) hampered by an absolutely hideous ad campaign that starred Robert Downey Jr. (who was reportedly paid $12 million to do the ads), the company fared no better this year when it hired Gary Oldman to star in an absolutely ridiculous series of commercials that told us nothing about HTC and its flagship phone.

There is nothing in these spots that tells you how solid the HTC One (M8) feels in your hand. Nor do the ads give you a sense of how zippy the Snapdragon 801 feels, especially compared to the Snapdragon 600 that powered the HTC One (M7). And speaking of sense, do any of the millions of people viewing these commercials know that many prefer Sense over TouchWiz? And the amazing thing is that not too many phones get hyped as much prior to launch, as the HTC One (M8) was. It was as though an Olympic gymnast was doing a routine perfectly, and just when it was time for the dismount, she stumbled and fell flat on her face.

Would a different focus in marketing have resulted in much larger sales for the manufacturer? Let's put it this way. If you can't describe what it is that you want to sell to the consumer, how does he know that he wants to buy it? And asking the internet doesn't mean anything.

HTC's problem might have nothing to do with the phones they turn out. The problem is getting the public to want its phones. Apple can do this in its sleep, and Samsung isn't that far behind. HTC, on the other hand, has not clearly stated why the public must have an HTC phone to make life worthwhile.  The company is close on the device side, but it needs to get out a message and identity that resonates with the public. If this can't be fixed ASAP (or Stat, as Doctors would say), the sand in the hourglass will soon run out. With a global market share of less than 2%, the abyss is staring the company in the face.

source: Forbes

Related phones

One (M8)
  • Display 5.0" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 4 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2600 mAh(20h 3G talk time)



1. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

Not good, I really hope they can get out of this rut. They have great smartphones, it's the marketing and lack of other products that really seem to be bringing them down. The HTC One M8 felt incredible in my hands, to the point where I almost didn't want to let my brother have his phone back. They have fine craftsmans and I would hate to see them permanently fall out of the smartphone race.

27. SuperMaoriBro

Posts: 533; Member since: Jun 23, 2012

Owning the terrible htc one x put me off wanting to ever buy another htc device. lack of support for a known hardware fault that htc acknowledged was the real killer.

35. Micah007

Posts: 266; Member since: Oct 09, 2014

I heard about the one X. Tragic that they didn't support the hardware problems with that one.

46. Industriality

Posts: 131; Member since: Sep 08, 2014

I love my old M7, M8 to fat, wich for a compact M9 ! And that's the only brand (with LG) with awesome audio output.

48. yajia1

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

My One Max doesnt have its own File Manager. EX Explorer cant delete and save files to/from the SD card coz of kitkat. Not the one to root so i switched to Note 3 which is worlds better btw. I wanted to buy the M8 but that stupid bezel with just the logo put me off. On top of that, their unlocked pricing is just way too overpriced. It is indeed in their devices.

2. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

Just as it is hard to stop someone from committing suicide, it's hard to stop a company from doing themselves in. HTC is not managed well and continues to make poor decisions when it comes to product design and marketing. The HTC One M8 could have been a runaway best seller if they had just used a 13MP OIS camera with no gimmick "duo", shrunk the top and bottom bezels a bit, gone with three capacitive buttons, and improved their build quality/consistency. Add these changes to a stellar design that still offers my favorite "in hand" feel of any smartphone, and it would have been a winner. But HTC decided to use gimmicks and old parts and be lazy with the bezels/buttons. Ugh. HTC could have released the Butterfly2 as a global model and sold it worldwide directly, but chose not to do this either. And of course HTC is making all sorts of models of phones up and down the range, trying to be more like Samsung. But this is not a good strategy for HTC. One could go on, but HTC doesn't listen anyway.

10. ManusImperceptus

Posts: 724; Member since: Jun 10, 2014

It's a rare day that I agree with you, but you nailed it here... Nothing wrong with their commercials (other than the inherent stupidity of the concept); people simply look at the 4 mp camera and think (rightly so) "low resolution", megapixel or no...

3. LebronJamesFanboy

Posts: 671; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

HTC certainly doesn't help themselves by... 1. having a flash sell a day after release, angering thousands that preordered 2. write an insincere email to those that missed the flash sale due to technical difficulties on their end 3. not offer those that had the tablet in their cart the tablet at the reduced price

4. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

I dont understand why cant companies like htc do a little bit research and find out what consumers want? Isbit really this hard to make a compact smartphone (lg g3) with a good battery life (sony z3), a decent ois camera. A 1080p screen and removable battery, expandable storage (s5). Water resistant and a latest processor and price it reasonably around $450 and watch your market share grow. Just dont spend tons of money on bulls**t marketing and research bulls**t gimmicks like 3d screens or heart rate monitor on a damn phone. And please dont skim on components either because we all know they are getting cheaper. By the way lg market share is going up and they are not marketing powerhouse either

11. g2a5b0e unregistered

You want a phone with all the best parts from all the flagships, but you want it priced significantly lower than all of them as well. Nothing wrong with dreaming, but that is exactly what this thought will continue to be.

36. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

Well. The chinese are doing it

37. g2a5b0e unregistered

Market share at the cost of profitability may not necessarily be the best way to go. If you have to sell three times as many phones to make the same amount of money, you're doing a lot more work for no more return. Not necessarily smart in the long run & there's no guarantee you will sell that many more devices. Some of those Chinese companies might be making money, but most are selling a majority of their phones locally. Makes it much easier to sell those phones for cheaper when so few are being shipped all over the world.

40. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

there's no profit when your products aren't selling. maybe the reason why HTC is failing is because they are too focused on maximizing their margins while trying to compete in the already saturated smartphone market. They think their products are premium and unique like apple ecosystem when in fact they are running android os like thousands of other chinese phones. is there a reason to sell your products at premium for profitability when there's nothing to differentiate it from the others? if chinese phones are making money selling their products in a limited market why can't HTC when their footprints are all over the world? at the end of the day, it all comes down to pricing. chinese phones make it much easier to choose them over other "premium android phones" because face it, all android phones are more or less the same. when your products aren't selling, what are you going to do with idling manufacturing capacity, your supplier contracts? how are you going to pay your research team and engineers?

42. g2a5b0e unregistered

We don't disagree here. The simple fact of the matter is that no one is buying HTC right now & they are caught between a rock & a hard place because of it. If they don't make any changes, they will fail. If they makes changes, they might fail faster. I suppose they have to make changes because it's the only way they won't be guaranteed to fail.

41. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

The chinese might be operating on a thin margin. but at least they are have positive cashflow.

43. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

There is no such thing as long-term strategy in the tech industry

5. Lt.Green

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Almost bought the M8, but the camera and front logo changed my mind.

13. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

The three to four day battery life and the fact the camera really isn't that bad, made me fall in love with my m8. It is such a work of art I do wonder why anyone would buy an LG g3 or note 3 even though I had a note 3, I have a note four now, it feels better though it's a step in the right direction

22. limporgyuk

Posts: 371; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

I have a G3 and the camera takes much worse pictures than my M7 did, once the M9 is released I am straight back on the HTC bandwagon. Ultrapixels all the way

29. Anterv

Posts: 178; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

Actually even M8 is on bottom of all camera comparisons, and LG G2 does better photos. Not sure what about you are talking. Maybe you have other proof ?

38. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 2012

Do you know what preference is? Do you know what is trying out something instead of relying on others to tell you how good it is or it isn't? With that being said the Ultrapixel sensor can still take advantage of insane shutter speeds with decent light collection, and in the M8 you have manual control that makes the camera that much usable in many more conditions.

6. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

Just when you think the tablet market wasnt saturated enough. Htc decides to jump back in with their Premium tablet priced at $400, and it would sell because it runs android just like thousands of other android tablets now we can pay 400 to play angry bird and all the other s**tty android mobile games on a tegra processor

19. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

Unlike all the other android tablets, it will actually be built so I gladly welcome it.

49. yajia1

Posts: 151; Member since: Aug 22, 2012

Or you can download emulators.

7. Akkilidor

Posts: 14; Member since: Oct 14, 2014

i haven't seen a single AD on TV...

8. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 2014

Yeah sure that's why people don't trust them over Samsung or Apple at the same prices,not because of the skin or lack of reliability.. And then the pricing is terrible, they haven't had a phone worth buying in years. Moto revived itself by offering a product worth buying, the Moto G. Now they have the Nexus tablet and instead of using it as a marketing vehicle and pricing it at 280$, they harmed their image with it and sales will suck. They'll make less money and they lose good will. Great strategy. They can't compete now and things are about to get much worse when others can do 2-3 times lower prices. You go buy a HTC One Mini for more than a Nexus 5 and twice as much as a Moto G or 4-5 times more than a Xiaomi Redmi 1s.

9. rj_78

Posts: 74; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

They should hire some proper management team and good advertisement as wel, not for a particular country but for every country(at least where they can gain market).

12. Alex123

Posts: 241; Member since: Oct 17, 2012

HTC should rethink of the camera on its flagship. forget that ultrapixel as it doesn't help the company. There are only two reason for me that i don't get current HTC products 1- price is much more expensive than it's competitors at the same spec (I don't know if the company offers similar or cheaper for other area, but here in Cambodia NO WAY) 2- I don't want to spend too much money for flagship that we can only take decent photos as i get much cheaper devices with much better camera It's just my feedback. Consider or ignore is up to you HTC. However, i wish you good luck!

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 22272; Member since: May 28, 2014

I hope HTC can get themselves back on an upward track soon. I would hate to see a company like HTC that has produced such great hardware inn the past disappear.

15. ECPirate37

Posts: 338; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

If HTC would just make sure it had a removable battery, waterproof the phone, have a great camera, and expandable storage; people would buy it more. THEN PROMOTE THE PHONE! I was traveling Europe with the HTC One (M8) came out, as well as the Galaxy S5. I saw so many ads and displays for the S5, but barely any for the M8. One mall even had a kiosk set up, just to show people the S5. HTC needs to up their marketing game.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.