In 2019, the Latin America region represented only 10% of the global smartphone market. Nevertheless, it includes Brazil and Mexico, which are both among the top ten biggest markets worldwide. These two countries now have similar smartphone usage penetration, but they have quite different dynamics. Open distribution channels account for 80% of Brazil’s market. While in Mexico, 80% of the market is operator-driven.
LATAM countries have various levels smartphone penetration. Chile and Argentina have the highest, while Peru and Paraguay have the lowest. The varying maturity levels and local regulations largely dictate the competitive landscape:
- Brazil and Argentina both require local manufacturing/assembling. It is a complicated process to set up local manufacturing, so only a few brands manage to do so, which makes these markets highly concentrated brand wise the same three brands represent more than 80% of the market. In both countries, Samsung has more than 40% share. Motorola is a distant follower and LG continues as #3. LG has been losing share in many other markets, but it enjoys a competitive advantage of local manufacturing in these countries.
- Mexico: Samsung leads the market, but Huawei is a close contender. So much so that during two months in 2019, it overtook Samsung, making Mexico Huawei’s biggest market in the region. The battle for supremacy accelerated the replacement rate and increased smartphone penetration. Motorola is a solid #3.
- Peru: the top 3 brands represent only 65% of the market. It is one of the most brand diverse markets in LATAM. It also has high feature phone penetration. Samsung and Huawei lead the market, while Motorola is a distant third. Peru has one of the lowest smartphone usages in LATAM, mainly because of the low 4G LTE coverage.
- Chile is the most mature market in the region. It has LATAM’s highest smartphone penetration, rate of replacement and ASP. It is still an operator driven market, so brands need to have operator approval to succeed. Although it is a small market, it is among Apple’s top 3 market in LATAM. Samsung leads the market. Huawei’s performance was impacted by the US trade ban.
- Ecuador is the smallest market in this infographic, but with high growth potential. 3G smartphones are still relevant, partly because of the price of the smartphone, partly due to the limited coverage of the 4G network. Samsung and Huawei lead the market. Bmobile, a local brand, is a distant #3.
- Colombia is the third biggest market in LATAM. Samsung is the absolute leader. Huawei was challenging Samsung leadership in the market during Q1 2019. However, the trade ban imposed by the US government highly impacted Huawei causing a loss of share to Samsung and Motorola.
Samsung was the absolute leader in all the major market in LATAM in 2019. Motorola was a distant number two that excelled in Argentina and Brazil. Huawei was a strong number three, but its performance was impacted during the second half of the year.
The infographic is a high-level overview of the data we track in our quarterly Market Monitor Service.