For the last few weeks, Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) flagship phone Lumia 920 has been available for pre-order in a variety of European countries such as France and Italy. From the looks of it, the company is seeing strong demand for this phone in European countries as of right now.
One of the largest phone sellers in France is a website called Phonehouse. The company posts the phones that are on the highest demand at the moment. Currently, Lumia 920 seems to receive a higher demand on than iPhone 5 (NASDAQ:AAPL) even though iPhone 5's introduction to the market made far more noise than Lumia 920, and the two phones have very comparable prices in the country. The phone's French price tag of €649.90 corresponds to $852. Not only the phone's demand has passed iPhone 5, but the phone also became the top seller in the website.
In Italy, the Lumia 920 phones ran out even before it became available. From the looks of it, more people pre-ordered the phone than there were spots available for the pre-order. Many Italians would rather wait several weeks to receive a Lumia 920 than buy an iPhone 5 that is already available. This is great news for Nokia and it shows that the company continues to enjoy a strong brand name in Europe despite the slowing economy in the continent and weak marketing efforts so far. Windows Phone operating system is said to enjoy a market share of 10% in Italy, which is one of the highest rates in Europe and North America.
We don't exactly know how the demand will turn out in the USA, but if it turns out anything like the demand in Europe, Nokia might be looking for a strong holiday season. By the way, after a long time of resisting, AT&T finally decided to unlock Lumia 900s for current and former members who want to use their phone with a different service provider. In the past, the company refused to unlock phones even if they were purchased at full price without a contract. This should attract some people to buy Lumia 900 before Lumia 920 hits the market. I know that many people consider Lumia 900 to be obsolete after the introduction of Lumia 920, but I completely disagree with this. I personally use a Lumia 900, and the phone is very useful. In the past, I used to own an iPhone 4S and I couldn't find any task I care about that my iPhone 4S could accomplish but my Lumia 900 can't accomplish. Nokia already updated a lot of the applications that came with Lumia 900 such as the City Lens and Nokia Maps, which means I will continue to have the latest editions of these applications even with a Windows 7.5 operating system.
In the company's home country Finland, the company pretty much cleared all its inventory of Lumia 900s and Lumia 800s after dropping the price of these phones. Back in August, the company's low end phone Asha 305 got sold out in one of the company's biggest markets, India. While Asha phones don't come with huge margins, they remain to be one of the profitable phones for the company.
Tomorrow Nokia will announce its earnings for the quarter. Chances are, by the time you read this article, the company will already have announced its earnings. It may or may not look scary, but the numbers will only reflect the short term. I wouldn't pay much attention to one-time costs related to restructuring, which will cause most of Nokia's big expenditures.
In the long run, Nokia's turnaround should be successful because the company deserves it. Nokia's products are of the highest quality and they deserve more credit than they are getting. I'm saying this not only as a Nokia investor, but also as a Nokia consumer who is very happy with his Lumia 900.
Disclosure: I am long NOK, AAPL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.