Smartphones are rapidly gaining popularity in Brazil as recent price reductions have made these devices more accessible to people of all economic levels according to new research from The Nielsen Company. Sales of smartphones were up 128% in the first half of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, and up 17% versus the first half of 2008, the period prior to the global recession. The volume of handsets sold also jumped 31%. Overall, smartphones make up about 10% of mobile phones owned in Brazil.
The average price of smartphones dropped 2% in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2009 and by 5% versus 2008.
“The drop in the average price of smartphones has put them in the hands of more Brazilians, regardless of their income level. In the small but rapidly growing smartphone universe, 15% are owned by consumers in the two lower income levels,” said Thiago Moreira, Regional Product Manager of The Nielsen Company’s Telecom Practice in Latin America.
One of the great attractions of smartphones is the variety of functions they offer. Survey respondents said that cameras, FM tuners and MP3 players were the most sought after features. Sales of phones featuring cameras increased 33% in the first half of the year, while those featuring FM tuners jumped 76%. Sales of phones featuring MP3 players grew 74%, while those with GPS products went up 52%.
Looking to the future, smartphones featuring digital TV – which currently account for 2% of the category’s sales – will be the goal for many Brazilian consumers. More than 50% said that they intend to have such a feature on their next mobile handset.
“With the increased interest in that feature from consumers at all income levels, the strategic segmentation of that market becomes key to carriers and manufacturers alike,” said Moreira. “It is critical that they have a deeper understanding of the criteria and motivations Brazilians have for purchasing the phones they do.”