Apple beats Samsung for most-wanted smartphone in emerging markets


Apr. 16 2014, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

Samsung lost its top position to Apple in 2013 for the most desirable phone in emerging markets

According to a survey conducted by marketing firm Upstream and researcher Ovum in February this year, Apple (AAPL) is the most desirable phone in emerging markets, even though it’s still out of reach for many. Samsung (SSNLF), which was the leading player of this survey in 2012, lost its top position to Apple in 2013. Apple’s share jumped from 21% in 2012 to 32% in 2013, while Samsung’s share declined from 32% in 2012 to 29% in 2013. Nokia (NOK) held on to its third position although its market share also declined from 22% to 13%. HTC (HTCKF) and BlackBerry (BBRY) were fourth and fifth in the survey conducted to gauge smartphone desirability in emerging markets.

Emerging market consumers have diverse motivations for purchasing a smartphone

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The sample of the survey was 4,504 consumers in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, and Vietnam. According to the report, while brand status is the most important motivation in developed markets when it comes to choosing to purchase a smartphone, the reasons for purchasing a smartphone in emerging markets are quite diverse. The primary reason for the majority of consumers in emerging markets is functionality, followed by trust in the brand and brand aspiration.

Smartphone players need to understand the audience of each region

According to Marco Veremis, CEO of Upstream, “The race to emerging market consumers is truly underway after several announcements from handset manufacturers, content providers and notably Facebook — all of who are developing devices or mobile content specifically for consumers in these regions. However, blindly approaching new markets without obtaining granular insights into what people in these regions actually want and acknowledging what is important to them will lead to challenges along the way. Only when each player truly understands the audience of each region — being able to answer the questions of ‘what’s affordable’, ‘what content do consumers want’ and ‘what functionality is preferred’ — will they be able to connect with the consumers they are trying to reach.”


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