LATAM Smartphone Market Returned to Growth in Q3 2019

Samsung leads the smartphone market in LATAM with 40% share.

Huawei returns to growth and remains the third-largest smartphone brand.

New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – November 21st, 2019

After four consecutive quarters of decline, the LATAM smartphone market registered 3.7% growth year over year (YoY) in Q3 2019, with almost all major markets, except Peru, having some level of shipments growth. In terms of brands, Samsung, Huawei and ZTE registered the most significant growth.

Commenting on the market’s development, Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst, Tina Lu, said, “Aggressive price erosion on older models, and the launch of new models, has tempted LATAM consumers to accelerate the replacement of their smartphones. But market concentration increased, with the top three brands now representing 69%, up from 65% in Q3 2018. This four-percentage point increase in concentration was mainly captured by Samsung, as it had the biggest YoY increase among the top three brands”.

Commenting on brand performance, Tina highlighted, “Samsung continues to strengthen its position in the region, reaching an all-time high of 40% share. Samsung combines aggressive pricing, strong brand awareness and an increasingly powerful sales channel push. Its sell-in growth is the result of the consolidation of its A-series across the region, while maintaining the J-series in Argentina and Brazil; several J-series models were still popular in these markets during Q3 2019.”

Parv Sharma, Research Analyst, added, “Huawei came back swiftly following the trade ban in May that caused sales to slow. It is still some distance from its peak in Q1 2019, but it managed to secure YoY growth in both August and September. Huawei’s focus in both Mexico and Colombia has yielded positive results, as it managed to remain a strong number two in both markets. Sales of legacy products should allow Huawei to stay competitive in LATAM market for rest of this year and in to 2020.”

Exhibit: Smartphone Shipment Market Share 2019 Q3

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q3 2019

 Market Summary:

  • Samsung is once again the absolute leader in the LATAM smartphone market. It is the leader in all major LATAM countries, although its leadership position has been closely challenged in Mexico.
  • Motorola has strong brand recognition in LATAM and, when combined with an attractive and affordable portfolio, it makes for a strong number two in the region. Its robust position in Argentina and Brazil provides a strong platform for continued strength in the region, provided it maintains its product portfolio with similar positioning.
  • Motorola’s volume increased compared to the previous quarter and the same quarter last year, as it manages to gain share, partly from LG.
  • Huawei has been aggressive at regaining share in Mexico, followed by Colombia and Chile. However, Huawei has not made much progress in penetrating the Brazilian market as it does not have the requisite local manufacturing capability.
  • LG continues to decline in the region. Nevertheless, it has managed to stay among the top three brands in Brazil and Argentina. These two countries represent almost 78% of its regional volume.
  • ZTE is slowly consolidating its position in the region. Its main market is Mexico, which represents almost half of its volume in the region. ZTE sells almost exclusively through operator channels, and mainly in AMX (America Movil).
  • TCL is attempting a dual brand strategy. Its Alcatel brand has a long history in the region, and it is pushing for growth again. In addition, it is now offering TCL-branded smartphones as a more premium offering.
  • Apple lost share and volume YoY, but it maintained share of the installed base. LATAM consumers must pay a hefty premium for iPhones of between 50% and 100% more, compared to US prices. Therefore, many Apple users choose to purchase new Apple devices in the US and then hand-carry to regional markets.
  • Local Kings’ and smaller brands’ shipments continue to decline, mainly displaced by Huawei and Motorola. Regional brands are mainly competing in the feature phone and low-end 3G smartphones segments.

The comprehensive and in-depth Q3 2019 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at press(at) for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries. The Market Monitor research is based on sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s IR results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.

You can also visit our Data Section (updated quarterly) to view smartphone market share Globally and from the USAChina and India.

Analyst Contacts:

Tina Lu

Parv Sharma

Peter Richardson

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