The News: Lenovo recently announced its fiscal fourth quarter earnings (ending on March 31, 2022) growing firm revenues and net income 18 percent and 72 percent year-over-year. A key standout was its Intelligent Devices Group (IDG), which grew its revenues and operating margin 18-percent and 27 percent respectively. Overall, the division is comprised of PCs (personal computers) which represented 81.6 percent of revenues while Beyond-PC represented 18.4 percent of the segment revenue. The catalyst for growth in the Beyond-PC segment was Lenovo’s smartphone strategy, with its expanded growth of its 5G smartphone portfolio. Read our deeper coverage of Lenovo’s earnings here.
Lenovo’s Smartphone Strategy is Paying Dividends to its Intelligent Devices Group
Analyst Take: My take on this is simple: Lenovo’s smartphone strategy of 5G for all is paying dividends for the firm in helping it differentiate itself from traditional PC rivals. The Beyond PC business unit nearly outpaced the PC divisional segment revenues by 11 percent year-over-year as demand increased for 5G smartphones.
On Lenovo’s recent earnings call, the company indicated that it was seeing exceptional growth of its smartphones due to greater collaboration with mobile operators and its growth of its premium 5G smartphones. In fact, smartphone revenues and operating margins grew 39 percent and 110 percent year over year, or increasing operating margins from 3 percent to 4.6 percent (or a 160 basis point improvement). The company also noted that it experienced hyper growth of its Moto Edge line, despite comps at a lower base, along with strong growth of its Moto G and Moto E series lines. Moving forward, the executive team mentioned that the Lenovo smartphone strategy would include widening its product lineup to match the demand of 5G.
I think this is a smart move for Lenovo on many fronts. In addition to managing supply chain issues that will eventually subside or normalize in the future, the major PC OEMs are also fixated on growing premium PC segments, or inventing new ones, coupled with moving into higher margin adjacencies wrapped around key job functions (e.g., creatives, data scientists, gamers, etc.) or scenarios (e.g., remote workers, ruggedized workers, etc.) whether it’s peripherals and accessories, ProAV, collaboration, and more.
For example, we’ve seen a flurry of acquisitions over the years — think Apple acquiring Beats headphones, Lenovo acquiring Motorola, or Hewlett-Packard’s more recent acquisitions of HyperX and Poly. Now that employees are working in hybrid or remote situations, this should only propel that motion further since the workspace in our homes is now our corporate workspace, which includes equipment like the desktop or notebook, smartphone, wireless headsets, peripheral sharing, docking stations, monitors, better lighting, etc. Ultimately, this provides users with additional creativity with their workspaces, along with more opportunities for the vendor community to find additional areas to move into in the future.
Wrapping it up, Lenovo’s smartphone strategy appears to be working. Isolating the high growth 5G segment, coupled with strengthening its partnerships with mobile operators is paying off. I believe we will see further M&A or expansion in the above segments in the future as vendors seek to upsell and cross-sell higher margin products around the PC and handset devices.
Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.
Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.
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Image Credit: Lenovo
Michael Diamond is an industry analyst and foresight professional with 25 years of experience in the IT channel and market research industry. He is a route-to-market expert covering desktop and mobile devices, collaboration, contact center, ProAV, data center infrastructure, and cybersecurity. Prior to joining Futurum Research, Michael worked for The NPD Group as the sole industry analyst covering indirect channels, cybersecurity, SMB and vertical market trends, data center infrastructure (e.g., enterprise storage, servers, networking), ProAV and PCs. He has been quoted by media outlets such as Bloomberg, Kiplinger, TWICE, OPI (Office Products International), Apple World today, Dark Reading, Enterprise Storage Forum, Credit-Suisse, Footwear News, CRN (Computer Reseller News), Channel Futures and Into Tomorrow. Michael has presented at myriad events including The Channel Company’s Xchange, The Global Technology Distribution Council’s summit, SMB TechFest and more.