Local Smartphone Vendors Making Hay in Emerging Markets

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Local vendors like Xiaomi are cleaning up in emerging markets, at the expense of better-known brands

The latest 2015 smartphone report from Futuresource Consulting confirms that market disruption in emerging markets caused by the wave of local smartphone vendors is showing no signs of dissipating. Well-known brands including HTC, Microsoft and Sony are all struggling to keep pace with the emergence of strong Chinese and Indian manufacturers.

This latest 2015 report explores the changing ecosystem, highlighting how new local vendors such as Xiaomi have celebrated continued growth (up 33 per cent in H1 2015) even after a massive growth spike of 231 per cent in 2014. Its successful strategy, based on a strong online and social media presence and building customer engagement, is further fuelled by flash sales, low price points for attractive handsets and key strategic distribution partnership deals.

Other companies, such as Coolpad and Oppo in China, Micromax and Karbonn in India, Advan in Indonesia and Cherry Mobile in the Philippines are following suit, adding local celebrity endorsements to heighten consumer appeal.

In stark contrast, companies like HTC, Microsoft and Sony are struggling to keep pace and are undertaking reorganisation, cost cutting and strategic review exercises in an effort to find a way to compete effectively in growth markets like S. East Asia. Even the market leader, Samsung, albeit maintaining position through its scale, broad product range and huge marketing budget, dropped market share by 4.3 per cent.

“There has been a significant amount of growth in the mobile handset market over recent years,” said John Devlin at Futuresource Consulting. “However, mature markets are nearing saturation. Migration from feature phones continues to gather momentum globally with countries like Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines all seeing smartphones outsell feature phones for the first time in 2014. This effect can be seen in the rapid gains made by these emerging brands.”

From a macro perspective the smartphone market showed slower growth in 2014 than in previous years expanded by 23 per cent to 1.3bn units, compared to growth of 48 per cent in 2013.

There’s more information about the report here.