Call us on 020 3286 4122
April 13, 2016
As with many things in Latin America such as its growing presence on the world stage, the Latin American smartphone industry is developing rapidly. This recent growth is being mainly fed by the rising stars and previously crowned giants of the region Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. There are a number of factors driving this market which are similar to the rise of smartphone popularity around the world. With the increased trend of the application market and the functionality that they offer has been a big draw within the Latin American market. Messaging services and social network applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook and Twitter are reaping the benefits of a young, active and sociable population within the region. Another factor which has led to the growth of smartphones in the region has been the general increase in need and want for mobile connectivity. In most cases, the prices of having a smartphone have been driven down in order to stimulate an increase in the popularity for the devices as well as growing the penetration of smartphones in Latin America. In a bid to comply with reducing the costs and taxes, there has recently been an increase in the production of smartphone handsets in Latin American countries.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2013 reached 16.6 million units in all of Latin America. This equates to an incredible 53% increase on the figures taken from the same period in 2012. The research firm Gartner, provided a report on the second quarter of 2013, stating that smartphone sales in Latin America had increased by 55% with only the Asia-Pacific region having a larger increase in smartphone sales. Countries which had seen a significant rise in the first quarter of 2013 were Brazil (89% increase), Mexico (61% increase), Chile (34% increase) however; it is the estimate for Peru, with a staggering 98% projected sales increase for smartphones in 2013 that is truly impressive. While smartphone sales only went up 2% in Argentina in the first quarter of 2013, smartphones now account for 47% of mobile phone sales in the country. In Colombia, smartphones now account for 30% of mobile phones imported into the country compared to just 10% back in 2011.
Android has taken advantage of the price sensitive population of Latin America and is currently riding the wave of success as it has become the dominant mobile operating system in Latin America. This might explain why Apple is aiming to launch its first retail store in Brazil by March 2014 even though this will be almost two years after Samsung launched their first retail store in Argentina. The plight and struggle Apple will face in attempting to become the most popular operating system can be seen in Argentina, Brazil, , Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay where iOS isn’t even the second and sometimes not even the third choice of mobile operating system.
Latina America is quickly becoming a digital-age goldmine with internet penetration almost at 50% in the region and more than 250 million people are now connected to the internet across Latin America. It is predicted that in the not so distant future, Latin America will have more internet users than the US and Canada. It isn’t just the smartphone market which has witnessed a rapid increase in popularity, sales of laptops and in particular tablets are set to skyrocket as more of the population moves away from desktop computers. According to IDC, tablet sales in Latin America totalled more than 3.5 million units in the first quarter of 2013, which is an overall increase of 234% on the figures from the same period in 2012. This current rise in the use of smartphone and mobile devices is sure to become a lucrative market with rapid expansion still to take place into the beginning of 2014.
As the young populations from around Latin America enthusiastically embrace smartphones and other mobile technology, it has the potential to become a digital El Dorado and laying out the basics for online retailing to really take off. With 2014 fast approaching, it will be extremely interesting to note the yearend figures for growth in the smartphone market in comparison to previous years. What can be assumed is that it is sure to capture the attention of mobile marketers, advertisers and of course smartphone and mobile device producing companies looking to invest and growtheir customer base in an ever increasing competitive market.