Low income segments, networking to drive smartphone growth, Nielsen predicts

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Social networks, socioeconomic class-C consumers and ever-cheaper devices helped drive Brazilian smartphone penetration to 10% in 2010 and could have the country near US levels of 25% in the near future, the Brazil director of research firm The Nielsen Company, Thiago Moreira, told BNamericas.

Early last year, the Brazilian smartphone market was growing at four times the pace of the world average, according to Moreira (final figures for 2010 are still uncalculated). Socioeconomic class-C and -D shoppers helped to fuel purchases with respective penetration rates of 11% and 4%, he said, and operators now sense an opportunity to provide mobile broadband services to households that never had fixed internet connections.

This year, Nielsen expects sustained increases in smartphones and also plans to keep an eye on other connected devices, such as iPads and tablets, which arrived in the country at the end of last year. Demand for mobile access to social networks is a "huge factor" in the growth of such goods, he added.

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Moreira also called on the telecom industry to continue building up infrastructure and service capacity ahead of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Considerable current and past investments in 3G technology, he added, could however push back incentives for adopting 4G, as operators first look to maximize returns before pouring money into the next generation.