HTC’s February sales grow 22%. First signs of a turn-around, but lots of questions still

HTC just announced their sales numbers for February 2012. And there are some signs of improvement.

Last November- January were among the worst months in recent HTC history. During the Christmas season the growth stopped, and they lost 30% of revenues in just 3 months. Then the decline accelerated, with HTC’s January 2012 sales diving a whopping 52% compared to a year ago.

But February results paint a different picture. They have sold $NT 20.29 billion (US$ 686 million) worth of goods. Which is still a big 37% decline from the February earnings a year ago. But it is much better then a 52% decline a month before. And, compared to January 2012 – HTC’s sales grew by 22%.

March is the last month of the first quarter. By now – HTC’s management should know whether they can deliver on  guidance issued on Feb. 6th, during Q4 earnings report. And should issue a profit warning, if Q1 sales come in well below the forecasted 65 to 70 billion $NT ($US 2.19-2.36B) range.

Since we have no profit warning yet, we can assume that HTC revenues will be within an offered guidance above. And we already know how much they sold in January and February (36.9B $NT). Which gives us sales between $NT 28 and 33B for March 2012.

Compared to March 2011, when HTC earned $NT 37B, that’s still 11 to 24% YoY drop. But it is still a huge improvement over free fall we saw in January. And the second month of consecutive revenue growth.

HTC is not out of the woods yet. For a real turn-around we will have to see how their new 2012 smartphone line-up fares in the real world. The newly announced HTC One Series do look promising. And the April launch on 140 carriers around the world sounds very impressive. But last year’s HTC Sensation looked pretty good on paper too, until you put it next to Samsung Galaxy S2 or iPhone 4S.

Furthermore, in the U.S, where HTC earns almost half of its money – they only announced 2 carriers that picked up One Series smartphone. AT&T and T-Mobile. Their biggest clients – Verizon and Sprint – are yet to announce a single new HTC handset this year.

Still, it looks like the worst days are behind for Taiwanese upstart. There is still time for HTC’s 2012 U.S strategy to take shape. If history is any guide – its main competitors – Samsung Galaxy S3 and the next iPhone will not be getting on American networks for months yet. And with that impressive 140 carrier/distributor worldwide footprint – this year HTC may finally break the total reliance on the United States market.

We’ll see one way or another in a few months.

Author: Stasys Bielinis

While I like to play with the latest gadgets, I am even more interested in broad technology trends. With mobile now taking over the world - following the latest technology news, looking for insights, sharing and discussing them with passionate audience - it's hard to imagine a better place for me to be. You can find me on Twitter as @UVStaska'

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