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Smartphone sales flatlined in Latin America during 2019

According to Counterpoint, decrease occurred due to further slowing in the replacement rate. Still, Samsung remais on top in the region

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  • Although the smartphone market grew 1.7% in Q4 2019 – mostly due to the holiday season – the rest of the year saw a decrease in sales;
  • Samsung remains leading the market in Latin America while Huawei keeps trying to enter in Brazil’s market.

Latin America smartphone market decreased slightly in 2019. The smartphone shipment of the region decline CY 2018 vs CY 2019 by 0.9%. Data come from Counterpoint, a market research company. Although the smartphone market grew 1.7% in Q4 2019 – mostly due to the holiday season – the decrease observed during the year was motivated by a further slowing in the replacement rate, says Counterpoint.

Despite the flatlining market, the top three brands all increased their volume of sales in Latin America, which means growth in brand concentration. Motorola‘s shipments grew more than 20% in 2019. Only the top three brands (Samsung, Motorola and Huawei) dominated more than half (66.5%) of the market. It’s 5 percentage points more than in 2018.

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Counterpoint Research’s Senior Analyst, Tina Lu, says that Motorola led the growth among top-performing brands, with more than 20% growth in volume year-on-year. Motorola has increased participation in markets where it traditionally hasn’t been successful in the past, such as Colombia, Mexico and Chile. This added to its growth.

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Lu believes that the focus on a few models, in particular the E series, was responsible for the success with an ideal price-to-feature ratio. “The slow-down in units was not accompanied by an increase in ASP. During 2019, we saw both the ultra-low ($99) price bands losing share, while the mid-price range $100 – $250 gained share. The Samsung A-series, Motorola E and G series and Huawei Y and P Lite series, led this mid-tier growth. The three brands were involved in fierce competition in this key price band throughout the year”.

According to Counterpoint, decrease occurred due to further slowing in the replacement rate
Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q4 2019

Looking particularly at Xiaomi, during the Q4 2019, shipments grew 114% in comparison to the same period in 2018. It’s the first time the company entered Latin America Top 5 brands. On the other hand, in Brazil, the Association of Electric and Electronic Industry claimed that Xiaomi products are entering the Brazilian market through grey channels.

For Parv Sharma, a research analyst, this is not entirely Xiaomi’s fault. But it’s their responsibility to try to prevent it. One strategy of the company is producing smartphones in the country.

In an overview, Samsung was the leader in almost all regions’ markets. In Mexico during Q4 2019, Huawei market followed closely growing in the country, Chile and Colombia. The brand still tries to make inroads in Brazil, but until now it only imports its devices. Apple was losing share, but the launch of iPhone 11 restarted an upward trend during Q4. Brazil and Argentina were the only two markets where LG remained in the Top 5 best-selling brands.