- LATAM smartphone shipments in Q4 2020 decreased 10.3% YoY.
- Xiaomi shipments increased 98% compared to 2019, and for the first time, the company reached the third spot in Q4 2020.
- Huawei, although still holding the third position in 2020, fell off the top five brands chart in Q4 2020.
Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – February 26, 2020
LATAM smartphone shipments dropped 10.3% YoY in Q4 2020 but increased 9.7% QoQ driven by a recovery from the pandemic and partly due to seasonality, according to the latest Market Monitor research from Counterpoint Research. The drop in shipments was the least in Brazil and Peru. For the first time, Xiaomi emerged as the third biggest player in the region in Q4 2020. The average selling price (ASP) in the region decreased by 6.4% during the quarter.
Commenting on the market dynamics, Principal Analyst Tina Lu said, “Smartphone shipments in 2020 dropped 19.6%. The market suffered from a supply shortage in Q1 2020, especially in Brazil, where local manufacturers also experienced parts shortages. From the end of March and through May, most of the regional demand was halted due to broad lockdowns in most LATAM countries. The market started to recover slowly after June.”
Lu added, “During H2 2020, there was a surge in online promotion events, like Cyber Week and Black Friday. Such events increased further in the first part of Q4 2020. However, by the end of the quarter, promotions shifted toward the offline mode to tap the potential there. Samsung was among the most aggressive in promoting its online channel and expanding its presence in the region.”
Exhibit 1: Smartphone Shipment Market Share, 2020
Commenting on brand performance, Research Associate Monika Sharma said, “Samsung remained the region’s absolute leader in 2020 with 40.5% share. In fact, it was leading in all LATAM countries during the year. Its share in Brazil, the biggest market in LATAM, reached almost 50%. Motorola, which is a comfortable second in the LATAM market, increased its share by 3% points helped by its assembling operations in Brazil and Argentina, and its strong brand recognition in Mexico and Colombia.”
Sharma added, “Xiaomi experienced the biggest growth in participation. The company more than doubled its market share to become the third biggest player in Q4 2020. This is the first time Xiaomi has emerged as the third biggest player in the region. Looking at the trend, it will surely remain the third player in LATAM in 2021. Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi all took advantage of Huawei’s weakening position due to the US ban.”
Exhibit 2: Smartphone Shipment Market Share, Q4 2020
- Samsung is the absolute leader in all LATAM markets. Its share reached 40.5% in 2020, an increase of 2.5% points from 2019. Motorola, its nearest competitor, had less than half of this share. Samsung’s market leadership was driven by the success of its entry-level A series. The company is expected to retain this huge share until a serious contender emerges in the region. But this needs some time to happen.
- However, Samsung’s share reached 36.9%, its lowest point in 2020, in Q4 2020, impacted by product constraint at the end of the year.
- Motorola is a comfortable number two in the region. Its share was 18.5% in 2020, which is the highest in the last 10 years. In 2021, it is expected to focus on growing its ASP, as it is unlikely to have any other brand shadowing it in the short term.
- Xiaomi, which has been in the LATAM market for a few years now, grew exponentially compared to the previous year. It benefited from Huawei’s decline. Many LATAM users perceive it as an affordable but reliable brand. It was number two in Peru and number three in Chile during Q4 2020. But it still failed to reach the top three brands chart in other markets of the region.
- Apple grew both MoM and YoY. It launched the new iPhones in the whole of LATAM except Mexico in November. The late launch pushed the sales of the iPhone 12 in December.
- Apple leads the sales of 5G enabled phones in the region, capturing more than 66% share.
- LG managed to maintain its share YoY and grow MoM. Driven by its K series, the company has been growing slowly in volume across the region.
- Other brands continued to decline. Recent entrants like OPPO, vivo, realme and Tecno will need one year or so to build their brand in the market, the key to success in LATAM.
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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
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