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Maximizing Mobile: Multiple Phone Use is Rising in BRIC Markets
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Maximizing Mobile: Multiple Phone Use is Rising in BRIC Markets

How many phones does the average consumer use to stay connected? In three of the high-growth BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets, using multiple mobile devices is becoming the new norm. In India, however, the overwhelming majority (89%) of mobile owners still only carry one device, much like in the U.S., where only 17 percent of mobile subscribers own more than one phone.

Number of Mobile Phones owned by consumers in BRIC markets compared to the U.S.

An analysis by Nielsen shows that more than half of the mobile owners in Russia (51%) own two or more mobile phones, and nearly half in Brazil (48%) use multiple phones. In fact, ownership of three or more phones is highest in Brazil at 15 percent. The use of multiple phones is also a growing trend in China, where more than one in three mobile subscribers owns multiple phones.

So why are consumers increasingly owning multiple devices? In some cases, they keep their old device when they upgrade, saving the original device as a backup or alternate. In other cases, consumers carry separate devices for work and personal use. In China and Russia, for example, smartphone owners were more likely to use their handsets for business, whereas most non-smartphone owners had phones for personal use.

Another factor fueling the multi-phone trend in BRIC countries is the established market for secondhand and refurbished devices. In Brazil, secondhand and refurbished handsets account for about one in 10 phones. And as smartphone ownership continues to grow, smartphone owners in BRIC markets are slightly more likely to own a secondhand or refurbished phone.

Look for Nielsen at Mobile World Congress 2013, where our mobile experts will present insights on the everyday mobile behaviors of global consumers.

Methodology

China and Russia: Online survey of 3,900 mobile subscribes aged 16 and older who were asked to identify what type of mobile device they own. Due to the online-only methodology in China, which excludes a large portion of China’s rural population, smartphone penetration may skew high.

India: In-person interviews with 3,900 mobile subscribers aged 16 and older who were asked to identify what type of mobile device they own.

Brazil: Phone interviews with 1,000 mobile subscribers aged 16 and older who were asked to identify what type of mobile device they own.

U.S.: From April-June 2012, online interviews were conducted with 76,204 mobile users aged 13+ who were asked to identify what type of mobile device they own.

For additional Methodology information, click here.