Top Smartphone Features Most Popular Amongst LATAM Users

According to the latest Counterpoint Market Monitor service, Smartphones represented 89% of Q3 2017 total mobile device shipments. Furthermore, smartphone volume increased by almost 8% compared to the same quarter in 2016, while ASPs decreased by almost 6% annually. Despite the decrease in ASPs, smartphone product features continued to improve.  However, with respect to smartphones features, LATAM is still behind many other regions.  The following is a snapshot from Q3 2017, of all the top features in smartphones.

Latin America Smartphone Product Specification Analysis

  • Almost 88% of smartphones shipped in LATAM during Q3 2017 were LTE enabled.
  • Argentina leads LTE enabled smartphone adoption in the region, while Peru and Colombia have the lowest rates of LTE adoption.
  • Almost 96% of the smartphones in LATAM run on Android OS. OS participation has not had much variation for most of 2017.
  • Four out of every five smartphones have an LCD display.
  • 56% of smartphones have a display size between 5.00”-5.49” and more than 72% have a display size that is <5.49”.
  • 74% of smartphones have a processor speed that is <2.00 GHz clock-speed while the remainder have higher speed (>2.0 GHz) processors – a segment that has more than doubled in share YoY.
  • One in two smartphones have a primary camera resolution >10.00 MP.

In 2017, Counterpoint conducted a series of consumer surveys in various countries around the globe.  LATAM consumers reported that they consider higher memory capacity, more battery life and a faster processor as the most important factors during the purchase of their next smartphone. Below is a closer look at two of the top features pointed out by consumers.

More Battery Life

High usage of public transportation and the lack of charging points in most public places makes battery life for many LATAM consumers the most important factor when choosing a smartphone. However, the average battery capacity of devices bought in LATAM during 3Q17 was only 2677 mAh, compared to a global average of just over 3000 mAh.

Since 2016, the global trend has been moving to 3000+ mAh batteries.  In LATAM, 3001-4000 mAh has been the segment with the biggest growth. In 3Q 2017 phones with larger batteries doubled their share YoY but remained a minority, with only 14% of the market.  In China during the same period, large battery devices represented 42% of the Chinese market. Both Samsung and Motorola brands have been driving the growth of this segment with Samsung Galaxy J7 and J5, and Motorola C Plus.


Exhibit 1: Smartphone Shipment Share by Battery Size

Source: Counterpoint Research: Quarterly Market Pulse Q3 2017


More Memory

Memory capacity has always been pushed down to minimum to decrease costs. In 3Q 2017, more than 75% of smartphones sold in LATAM had <16GB of NAND, with 8GB being the largest segment. This compares with a global average of 42%. Among all regions, only MEA-sold smartphones had a larger percentage of low memory devices with 89%.

A promising sign is that the segments of >32GB has more than tripled since last year, but it still represented only 22% of all the smartphones sold in LATAM during 3Q 2017. It is not surprising that our consumer research has shown that an increase in memory is within the top three requirements while purchasing a new device.


Exhibit 2: Smartphone Shipment Share by NAND Memory Capacity

Source: Counterpoint Research: Quarterly Market Pulse Q3 2017


LATAM, as a region, still has a lot of catching-up to do regarding smartphone features. However, users are becoming increasingly tech savvy and are increasingly demanding improved features when purchasing a new smartphone.  OEMs, especially the leading brands, will need to further understand local consumer desire and try to fulfill their brand users’ needs if they want to retain the loyalty of their current users.


Tina has extensive consulting and analysis experience across a number of industry sectors including more than 14 years in the technology industry. Before Counterpoint, Tina spent more than 9 years in Nokia working in multiple roles and geographic regions. Tina also worked in brand and product marketing for Bestfoods-Unilever and BGH. Tina holds an MBA degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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