LATAM Smartphone Market Shows Marginal Growth Amid a Global Smartphone Market Slowdown in Q1 2018

Growth during 2018 Q1 was led by carriers that invested in subsidies and instalment plans. 

   New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires –

 May 15th, 2018

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, LATAM’s handset market saw an annual decline that suggests it is reaching maturity. However, smartphone shipments experienced a marginal annual gain of 2.3% in Q1 2018.

Commenting on the findings Senior Analyst, Tina Lu, said, “Growth during 1Q 2018 was led by carriers that invested in subsidies and instalment payment facilities of up to 24 months. These are designed to convert prepaid users into post-paid subscribers and also accelerate the rate of replacement, at least temporarily.”

Adding further, Tina said, “Samsung continues to lead in the region and is almost three times larger than the next competitor. But Chinese brands are steadily entering and increasing their position in the market. Some new brands, such as Hisense, Amgoo, Haier, etc. have managed to partner with operators to sell their phones.  Moreover, brands such as Xiaomi tried to enter the region earlier, but the same formula which led to success in their home market, did not work well in the LATAM market. However, these brands are now re-entering the market and trying to adapt to the ways of business in the market without losing their core values.”

Commenting on region growth, Research Analyst, Parv Sharma, said, “Global brands are losing share in LATAM equally to local brands and Chinese brands. However, global brands still represent more than 50% of the region’s smartphone market.  This handicap has been provided by closed markets such as Argentina and Brazil.  However, the market share landscape will likely change as brands, such as Huawei, are planning to re-enter the Brazilian market by setting-up local assembly facilities.”

Parv, highlighted, “Brazil, Colombia and Argentina were the countries which showed growth and were mainly responsible for the regional growth. Although the growth in Brazil was marginal, the market is showing positive signs for recovery.”

Exhibit 1: LATAM Smartphone Shipment Share by Brands

top latam smartphonesMarket Summary:

  • LATAM’s smartphone market grew slightly, 2.3% YoY, during Q1 2018.
  • The smartphone segment contributed to almost 90% of the total handset shipments during Q1 2018.
  • Samsung led the LATAM smartphone market with almost 37% in Q1 2018.  However, it declined 10% annually.
  • Motorola’s smartphone shipments grew 27% YoY. It had the highest YoY growth among the top five brands.
  • Huawei’s smartphone shipments grew more than 9% YoY during Q1 2018. It was the only other brand, after Motorola, to show growth among the top five brands.
  • LG’s smartphone shipments suffered a 28% YoY decline during the quarter. It had the biggest decline amongst the top five brands.
  • HMD and Xiaomi are the two brands that debuted during Q1 2018. They both captured 1.3% of the total smartphone market.

Exhibit 2: LATAM Top Five Smartphone Ranking: Q1 2018

latam top five smartphone ranking

  • Samsung’s success in LATAM is totally built on its affordable J series. All other series are considered too pricey for mass consumers in the region.
  • Samsung’s top four models represented almost 15% of the LATAM smartphone market.
  • Samsung’s J2 Prime has been the best-selling model for the last 10 months. It has been, by far, the top-selling model in LATAM during most of 2017.
  • Motorola with its mid-low segment series, Moto C grabbed the fifth position in the list of top smartphones in LATAM.
  • The Average Selling Price (ASP) of the top-ranking smartphones is below USD200.

The comprehensive and in-depth Q1 2018 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] 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.

Analyst Contacts:

Tina Lu
+54 91160411221
[email protected]



Parv Sharma
+91 974-259-6030
[email protected]



Jeff Fieldhack
+1 858 603 2703
[email protected]


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