In emerging markets Android devices are the king(s) thanks to Android devices being as cheap as Kshs 5,000 or lower. Although affordable Windows devices are becoming popular, Android has over years managed to dominate the emerging markets and it will require nothing short of a miracle for Windows devices (read Nokia) to gain any significant growth.
But Apple might not struggle as hard as Windows to gain market share if a research done by Upstream and Ovum is to be taken seriously. In the year 2012, when smartphone users were asked what phone they desired to own, Samsung was the phone of choice. This could explain why in 2013 there was increased uptake of Samsung smartphones in these markets but the year 2014 might just register a decline as, in 2013, most people cited iPhone as the most desirable phone.
According to the research, iPhone is most desired at 32% of smartphone users while Samsung comes in second at 29%. Those who desire windows phone are trailing at 13%. Is this bad news for Samsung? Hardly no. Last year Apple unveiled a ‘low’ cost iPhone dubbed iPhone 5c which apparently did not make any significant sales compared to iPhone 5s that managed to give Apple over $9 billion dollars just within the weekend of release. The poor performance of iPhone 5c has made Apple say that it will discontinue the production of the low cost device.
As much as iPhone 5c was considered a low cost device, the pricing was still at per with Android’s top notch devices like HTC One, Sony Experia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4. Actually Samsung Galaxy S4 is currently retailing at a lower price than iPhone 5c. The low end smartphones running on Android especially those from Tecno and Huawei can be bought for prices as low as Kshs 5,000. Just the other day while walking up and down the streets of Nairobi I heard sales men and women promoting an Android device they are selling at Kshs 1,200. Next time I’m back in Nairobi I must have a look at the device. Another reason why Samsung should not drop a sweat is the fact that Apple is not likely to venture into the very low market segments any time soon.
I am not foreseeing a future (at least not in the next five years) where Apple is producing gadgets to compete with the likes of Samsung Galaxy Music, Samsung Galaxy Trend, Samsung Galaxy Young, Samsung Galaxy Ace, and the many other low cost Samsung devices.
So, we in emerging markets can hardly afford phones that cost more than Kshs 10,000, why the heck do we desire to own iPhones?