Why Yandex Just Launched Its First Smartphone

It might seem strange that Yandex is entering the crowded smartphone market considering that global smartphone sales have effectively stalled in recent quarters. But that’s not the case in Russia, where — according to research from Counterpoint Market Pulse — smartphone sales climbed 25% year over year in the second quarter of 2018.

Counterpoint analyst Anshika Jain says this growth is coming not only from higher unit sales but also from higher average selling prices as users shift from devices classified as entry level (i.e. $99 and below) to midtier ($100 to $199). Sales within the latter segment soared 80% year over year in the second quarter to comprise nearly 40% of the overall market.

But foreign brands still command the vast majority of smartphone unit sales in Russia. At the end of the first half, Samsung had grabbed 30% of the market, followed by China’s Huawei at 29%, Apple at 10%, and China’s Xiaomi at 8%. Meanwhile, Counterpoint says that Russian manufacturers have largely focused on entry-level devices due to “better offerings from competitors in the upper-price bands…”

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