According to the latest Market Monitor Report from Counterpoint Research, the Latin American (LATAM) mobile device market had a very healthy 25% YoY and 4% sequential growth.
The sequential growth is particularly impressive since Q1 is traditionally the weakest quarter of the year across the region. This growth was driven by the top international vendors offering a wider portfolio of lower cost smartphones.
• 77% of total mobile devices shipped in LATAM were smartphones.
• Smartphone grew 25% YoY, and 4% sequentially despite the seasonality. There has been a significant surge in smartphone demand in LATAM.
• LATAM is third, behind North America and Europe in the global ranking of smartphone shipment penetration.
• Except for Peru, majority of the key LATAM markets are seeing a significantly higher smartphone demand, with shipment penetration of total handsets between 77% and 99%.
• Overall feature phone demand has been declining, and so has been the overall scale and profitability of manufacturing and selling them. As a result, in countries like Argentina, due to government protectionist measures and import restrictions, vendors are manufacturing and selling only the more profitable smartphones. This has led to smartphone shipment penetration of sales to reach 99%; the highest in the region.
• Almost 23% of the smartphones shipped in LATAM during Q1 2015 were LTE capable, with 173% annual growth.
Exhibit 1: LATAM Smartphone Market
• Samsung, LG and Apple are the top 3 smartphone vendors in the region.• Samsung continues to be the biggest smartphone supplier in LATAM, leading the region for 15 consecutive quarters.
• Samsung continues to be the biggest smartphone supplier in LATAM, leading the region for 15 consecutive quarters.
• However, Samsung share slipped by 900 basis points to 29.5% YoY, but recovering from its lowest market share of 22% during Q4 2014. This was possible as Samsung slashed prices across quite a few models and the shipment mix shifted toward lower ASP. As a result, Samsung’s smartphone ASP decline by 31% YoY.
• LG was the second largest smartphone vendor in LATAM, with stronger performance in Brazil and Mexico. However, LG market share slipped to 11% and so did its ASP which declined by 42% compared to Q1 2014.
• Apple reached 3rd place, for the first time, in the LATAM smartphone market. It had at least one or two models in the top ten bestselling models across all the key markets. Apple achieved 135% YoY growth in volume and 165% growth in value in Q1 2015.
• Among the regional brands such as Lanix (Mexico), Multilaser (Brazil), are one of the top five handset suppliers in their respective countries. However, these regional brands have not been able to translate their performance in the fast growing smartphone segment. Other brands to watch out for in the coming quarters are Blu, Bmobile, Avvio and Azumi which are growing fast in some key LATAM markets such as Peru or Colombia.
• By contrast local brands in Asian markets have been competing effectively, capturing share from international brands in their respective domestic markets. For example, India, Bangladesh and other Asian markets.
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The Market Monitor report from Counterpoint Research is derived from sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s IR results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.