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Smartphone becoming popular in Pakistan

Published on 1st June, Edition 22, 2015


There has been a complete change in the people’s lives moving from regular mobile handsets to smartphone over the years. The development of telecom and mobile services had the substantial prospective to influence socio-economic development further through the provision of high value 3G and 4G data services from smartphone to businesses and consumers across the region.

Pakistan with the population of about 200 million is the 6th most populated country of the world. Mobile phone subscribers figure in Pakistan have crossed 140 million recently. 35 percent of the smartphone users in Pakistan carry a low cost phone on them for safety reasons. 68 percent of the smartphone users in Pakistan are on Android. 60 percent of the Pakistani’s use more than one cell phone.

3G and 4G telecom services were launched in the middle of last year 2014 locally, but the smartphone penetration was on hike for many years. The logic behind this penetration initiated importantly in the past, when low-cost Chinese smartphone were flourishing in Pakistan in the year 2008.

Chinese smartphone sold by a home grown company (QMobile) holds the largest share of smartphone market in Pakistan. Smartphone is on the rise for more than six years and many global smartphone brands (Samsung, iPhone, HTC, Sony) and Chinese smartphone manufactures have gained massive popularity in our country nowadays.

Penetration set to be increased

According to reports, the smartphone entrance in Pakistan during 2014 was about 20 percent in comparison with immense 80 percent mobile users still own a conventional feature phone, which allows them to make and receive calls with traditional SMS accomplishment only.

The experts predict that the smartphone penetration will be 40 percent to 50 percent in 2015, because of 3G/4G expansion in Pakistan. Pakistan is a price conscious market therefore more than 65 percent Pakistanis carries low cost Chinese smartphone (QMobile), among all smartphone block.

Currently as per stats average 1.5 to 2 million smartphone are being sold every month in Pakistan, and the figure is certainly going to rise. Importantly thing about them is that 70 percent of them are Android smartphone.

QMobile is capturing the Pakistani Android-based smartphone market with over 50 percent market share. Samsung comes second in the rank as per Android Smartphone sales in the country is concerned. Company imports over 100,000 units annually in Pakistan and holds a well distinguished position mainly among tech savvy smartphone users. Then other player shares the markedly brands like iPhone, Huawei, Voice, HTC, LG, Nokia and Sony. With sales fluctuations these brands position remains unsure.

3G/4G auction has not only created opportunities for the telecom operators but has generated new ways of growth for the smartphone manufacturers and distributors as well. The competition has reached its highest as many local and international brands have entered the market, offering wide variety of feature phones and smartphone.

According to GfK’s recent market analysis, with 600k units sold in January 2015, smartphone segment is the main contribution growth of the telecom devices market in Pakistan.

Smartphone penetration grew at a steady pace as it accounted 13 percent in January 2013, 23 percent in January 2014 and subsequently reached 31 percent by January 2015. According to GfK’s recent market analysis, with 600k units sold in January 2015, smartphones segment is the main contribution growth of the telecom devices market in Pakistan.

Various reasons have been mentioned in the report for the increase in smartphone penetration. Development of Low End Smartphones, Dual SIM feature, larger screens and high Camera Resolution are the main drivers of Consumer demand for switching from feature phones to smart phones.


Modern technology easly available

Despite the economic and financial crisis, Pakistan has shown huge demand when it comes to technology. Major portion of Pakistani population comprises of youth which gives an additional edge to the growing number of people are embracing connected devices. The young section of the population needs to stay connected 24/7 and this need is fulfilled through apps like Facebook, Twitter, Viber and WhatsApp. Purchasing behavior of Pakistani consumers has changed over the time. The demand for smartphones has been growing for so many years now mainly because of Wifi services.

Presently the modern technology has become less costly for the masses and 3G/4G coverage is becoming available in more and more cities, smartphone market is also expected to grow at the same pace. Significant boost in smartphone market is expected in future now that Chinese brands are also penetrating the market and manufacturers are making low-end smartphones at affordable prices.

Telecom operators are not only providing reasonable high speed Internet but are also cooperating with local and international smartphone manufacturers to encourage smartphone use in the country. Modern technology has become more affordable for the masses and 3G/4G coverage is becoming available in more and more cities, smartphone market is also expected to grow at the same pace.

4G is rapidly gaining share. It is surpassing 50 percent of the global handset market for the first time. GfK predicts a 4G ramp-up in China in the second half of 2015 to drive incremental demand. In the first quarter of 2015, global smartphone unit demand increased plus 7 percent, compared to the same period last year. Sales reached 310 million units, with growth down from plus 19 percent year-on-years in fourth quarter 2014.

In the first quarter 2015, 4G unit share surpassed 50 percent of global smartphone demand for the first time. China saw the greatest 4G share increase in the quarter minus up 16 percentage points to 73 percent, from 57 percent last quarter. Growth has been buoyed by the continued price erosion of 4G smartphone. GfK forecasts global 4G share to increase further in 2015, reaching 59 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Asia attention

Smartphone growth in India and Indonesia is also expected to be helped by an expanding 4G network. In first quarter 2015, 4G share in both countries was well below the global average, at 4 percent and 7 percent, respectively. GfK forecasts 4G unit share within smartphone to reach 7 percent in India and 10 percent in Indonesia in 2015.

“GfK forecasts global smartphone unit demand to grow plus 10 percent year-on-year in 2015, a slowdown from the plus 23 percent growth experienced last year. Emerging Asia is forecast to be the fastest growing region, driven by India and Indonesia, where low smartphone penetration leaves plenty of room for growth.”


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