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Mobile Phone Sales Rise In Sri Lanka – Samsung and Nokia In The Lead

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Last month we reported how 2013 became the year that saw annual smartphone sales surpass that of feature phones, globally. Well, that may not be reflected in the Sri Lankan market yet, but smartphone sales are surely on the rise in Sri Lanka, according to the latest quarterly Sri Lanka Mobile Handset Market Review by leading Market Intelligence and Advisory firm CyberMedia Research.

As of today, there are already more LTE-based devices shipped into Sri Lanka than India!

Compared to 2012, smartphone sales (percentage of number of units) in Sri Lanka have seen 80% year-on-year growth, according to the report. There are multiple reasons for this exceptional growth. More and more people are moving to smartphones. Communication, Social Networking and workplace productivity play a huge role in this move. This is fueled by the increasing number of “affordable” smartphones available in the market now. Mobile service providers are also investing more on launching and promoting smartphones with special offers and services, especially on the “data” front. The chart below will give you an idea on the changing trend in mobile phone sales in Sri Lanka. The rise in smartphone sales have clearly contributed to the decline of feature-phone sales, even though feature-phones still maintain the highest number of sales in the local market.

Nokia is still king of feature-phones

According to the CMR’s report, Nokia ended the year 2013 with 27.3% of feature phone market share which was enough to retain the top spot. Nokia was followed by global market leader Samsung in the second place and Micromax in the third spot. Interestingly Samsung had a bigger competitor in Micromax in the local market, when it comes to feature phones. The market share margin between the two brands was less than 1%. This is also evident by the fact that Micromax actually sold remarkably higher number of feature phones than Samsung in the 4th Quarter of 2013. Micromax had 21.4% market share in Q4 2013 (up from 16.1% in Q3 2013) compared to Samsung’s Q4 2013 market share of 12% (down from 17.4% in Q3 2013).

Samsung remains market leader of smartphones

When it comes to smartphones, Samsung showed its global dominance in the local market too, by leading the list with a comfortable 37.7% of market share. But one should also note that Samsung’s  Q4 2013 share (21.2%) is noticeably lower than its Q3 2013 share of 39%. We are not aware of the exact reason that could have affected the sales, but we guess it’s due to availability of larger number of smartphone options from different players at highly competitive price points. Huawei followed Samsung in the second spot with 11.9% of market share while Micromax, with 10.3% share ended up at the 3rd place. But if you take Q4 2013 alone, it’s E-Tel which took the 3rd spot (16.1%) beating Micromax. Introduction of multiple Android powered smartphones at relatively cheaper price points might have contributed to the success of E-Tel.

The future looks bright for smartphones

As you can see in the charts, quite a large amount of market share was dominated by brands/vendors who could not make it to the top 3 list. For instance, Nokia has been promoting affordable Windows Phone devices as of late. Launch of Android powered Nokia X series will also give Nokia a chance to shine in the smartphone department in 2014. It should also be noted that a large number of Sri Lankans use Apple iPhones. Recently Dialog Axiata became an authorized seller for iPhones. Even though we could not find any reliable data on Apple’s market share in Sri Lanka, we can be certain that it is fast becoming one of the widely used smartphones in Sri Lanka. Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy S5 and LG’s G Flex are also expected to launch in Sri Lanka, in days to come.

According to CMR’s analysts, “the share of entry level smartphones in the Sri Lankan market is expected to increase, along with a matching uptake in 3G and 4G data consumption”. They also expect more Indian handset brands to enter Sri Lankan market this year. To quote a more interesting fact from the report – “as of today, there are already more LTE-based devices shipped into Sri Lanka than India!”. CMR’s analyst said that “this reflects the technological advancement achieved by the island nation’s market”

Source: CMR’s Sri Lanka’s Mobile Handset Market Review – 4Q 2013, March 2014 Release and 3Q 2013, December 2013 Release

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