Global smartphone sales on rise, but OEMs might need to establish in emerging markets

February 18, 2016
2 min read

The smartphone sale figures for 2015 are in. According to Gartner, smartphone sales were on the rise in emerging markets in 2015. The climb was slow but there was definitely an increase in smartphone purchase due to influx of affordable smartphones that mostly run the Android Operating System.

Samsung with 22.5% market share, might not be leading for long as Huawei and other Android-based smartphone makers are catching up with affordable smartphones that are pocket friendly. From 5.5% market share in 2014 to 7.3% market share in 2015, Huawei showed growth by almost doubling sales of it's smartphones in 2015 (compared to 2014).

Smartphone Sales Table 1
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Vendor in 2015 (Thousands of Units) Source: Gartner (February 2016)

“Low-cost smartphones in emerging markets, and strong demand for premium smartphones, continued to be the driving factors,” said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. “An aggressive pricing from local and Chinese brands in the midrange and entry-level segments of emerging markets led to consumers upgrading more quickly to affordable smartphones.”

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by OS in 4Q15 (Thousands of Units) Source: Gartner (February 2016)

Blackberry's launch of the Priv earlier this month in Nigeria, further reveals that Android is the leading OS in most emerging markets and 80.7% market share can be leveraged upon by providing high end devices for the Android market at affordable prices. I will want to believe that the Priv is a test run device because the price which is above N200,000 further shows it isn't for this market. Interestingly, Windows Phone with the Lumia 950, Lumia 950 XL and the mid range Lumia 550 is still in the fight.

The real question is how will smartphones that are imported into Nigeria remain affordable with the Naira devaluation? This problem might require smartphone makers establishing production facilities across different emerging markets. We are still in the 1st quarter of 2016, it will be an interesting development but then are countries within emerging markets ready?

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