Mighty Smart and Mighty Expensive: Brazil’s bestsellers

If you think paying a US$ 60 per person, for pizza and beer or US$ 130 per person for an more upscale meal is expensive then, wait until you have to buy any electronic device in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This is the most expensive city in Latam and electronic devices including smartphones are outrageously pricey.  Still, smartphones have been the main growth driver for the Brazilian Mobile device market. It currently represents more than 60% of this market.
(image source: Head Case Designs)


Brazil’s Bestselling Smartphone* List of June 2014
Rank Brand Model Category
1 Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone
2 Samsung Galaxy Pocket Neo smartphone
3 Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone
4 Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 smartphone
5 Apple iPhone 5S smartphone

Other bestsellers in the top 10 list:
Samsung Note III, Galaxy Fame, Apple iPhone 4S, iPhone 5C, LG Optimus L3 II, Motorola Moto G, Moto E

(table source: Monthly Market Pulse June 2014)

Samsung Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5S are the most desirable devices in Brazil. Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was launched in April at a suggested retail price of $1180 (R$s 2599). By June the average retail price has already dropped to $1000 (R$s 2199). On top of that, the device has been heavily subsidized by the carriers. In June, the subsidy of both Claro (AMX) and Vivo (TEM) has been between $450 (R$s 1000) and $550 (R$s 1200). In addition to price reductions, Samsung has also been promoting the product intensely; a week before the World Cup, it gave a personalized Samsung Galaxy S5 to each member of the Brazilian national team.

Samsung Galaxy S4 has been selling at around $300 (R$s 700) less than Galaxy S5. This is seen as good value for money, as there are few other choices at that price point with 5′ display, except for very few models from Sony and LG.

The brand attractiveness of Samsung counts strongly; end users are willing to pay slightly more for the brand. The Samsung Note III is selling well despite being priced above the Galaxy S5 (similar price in post paid tariffs). This is likely due to its market leading screen size. This points to a segment of the market willing to pay for a true ‘phablet’ large display device.

Apple’s iPhone 5S has typically not been subsidized as heavily as the Samsung Galaxy S5. While the average retail price was ~$1130 (R$s 2500), carriers have been offering the model, with a high end post paid plan, at $800 (R$s 1800). The brand is sufficiently desirable that end users are willing to pay a premium to have access to it – especially, since all retail outlet offer 12 installment plans.

The Apple iPhone 5C has also been heavily subsidized. Subsidies range from $600 (R$s 1300) to $400 (R$s 900), depending on the postpaid plan selected – enough to drive sales. Last but not least, Apple has announced, by the end of May, that the unlocked iPhone 4S, would be available at $530 (R$s 1169).

The postpaid plans required to access all of the above devices, at subsidized price, cost between $150 to $160 monthly. These plans include free local calls, 400 minutes of national calls and all you can eat data access.

Carriers have been pushing 4G services, so they are more heavily subsidizing smartphones with 4G capability. Claro (AMX) and Vivo (TEM) subsidize devices with a high end plan.

More than 78% of the subscription base of Brazil is on prepaid plan. This is reflected in the top smartphones models sold in June. More than half of the top 10 are priced below $230 (R$s 500), retail unlocked price. Prepaid plans are unsubsidized so tend to drive sales of lower-priced smart devices. Three models are actually below $140 (R$s 300): the Galaxy Pocket Neo, the Galaxy Fame, and the LG Optimus L3 II. The GALAXY Ace 3 and the Moto E cost between $150 (R$s 400) and $200 (R$s 500) the.

The Brazilian Valentine’s day was on June 12th. Motorola Moto G and Samsung Galaxy S5 were the most promoted mobile devices. Samsung Galaxy S5 was particularly desired, so it was used for many promotional raffles.

* Mobile Phone sales only (not shipments). Tablets, PCs, dongles, fixed wireless devices not included. All regional or minor hardware variations included in each model.