Apple Gains More Popularity In Emerging Markets

by CXOtoday News Desk    Mar 07, 2014

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Apple is turning out to be a more desirable brand in emerging markets where Android has always enjoyed the dominance, according to a new report. The study conducted by Upstream, jointly with analyst firm Ovum, showed that among buyers in India, Brazil, China, Nigeria and Vietnam, Apple is emerging as a top brand in terms of customer preference.

According to the study, 32% of respondents listed Apple as the most coveted brand in the emerging markets. Its rival Samsung placed second at 29% followed by the surprising Nokia brand with 13%.

The study notes: Although the majority of consumers in [emerging markets] use Android devices because of their accessibility, Apple is actually the most coveted mobile brand in the developing world.

Android still on top

Despite this preference, the usage stats are still strongly in Android’s favor. The study revealed that Android devices currently remain the handsets of choice in these regions with 296,493 active Android smartphones in comparison to 90,184 IOS devices. But Apple beating Samsung in the preference category also leaves room for Apple to promote future growth in regions where it doesn’t have much penetration currently.

Cost has always been the greatest barrier to Apple’s adoption in the emerging nations, a reason why most people in these regions use lower cost Android phones. The study shows that 40% users are getting their mobile software through Google Play, 26% through local operator stores and only 28% accessing that content through the App Store. This pretty much highlights the importance of local relationships and the trust consumers put in their mobile network operator.

The reason why Android has remained so popular in emerging market is affordability. Android smartphones use lower hardware cost than Apple does in its iPhones. In order to compete, Apple has to turn to cheaper hardware components.

Last year, when iPhone 5c was rolled out, the cost dynamics of the iPhone line remained relatively the same to consumers. Apple didn’t go down market with new hardware, and that could affect its ability to turn emerging market desire into emerging market traction, reports Tech Crunch.

Where Apple can bite

Analysts however warned that Android is also likely to face some threats in the coming quarters from Apple iOS, as well as from emerging competitors such as Microsoft and Firefox. A recent survey by research firm Strategy Analytics shows that Android despite extending lead over Apple and the rest, showed a decline in its annual growth to 62% in 2013, its lowest level in the platform’s history. Strategy Analytics claims that the growth rate of the Android mobile operating system has peaked, and is likely to decline in the coming months.

“There is little doubt that 2013 was the year of Android,” said Neil Mawston, analyst at Strategy Analytics. “However, we expect Android’s growth to slow further in 2014 due to market saturation, and rivals like Microsoft or Firefox will be ready to pounce on any signs of a major slowdown for Android this year,” he said in the report.

Read: Can Windows tablet challenge Android and iOS?

The report also observes that Apple is currently working more closely with retailers and partners in countries like India to make hardware more affordable and accessible in other ways and this may change the course in the history of smartphone adoption in emerging countries.