LatAm is stronghold for Asian smartphones

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, August 24, 2017

Latin America is a particular case of success for Asian smartphone brands.

According to the latest reports from Counterpoint Research and Gartner, Samsung had a 40.9% share of total sales in Q2, followed by LG (10.1%), Lenovo/Motorola (9.9%) and Huawei (8.5%). The first two are Korean and the latter two, Chinese.

The Motorola mobile brand, which has been controlled by Chinese electronics group Lenovo since 2014, is closing the gap on its rivals.

The positive cost-benefit ration of its phones, along with the brand's appeal to youngsters and millennials are cited by analysts as the main reasons for its success in the region.

According to financial results for the FYQ1 ended in June, which were released this month, Lenovo made a global net loss of US$54mn in the period, with revenues flat year-on-year. EBITDA was down to US$69mn.

Despite the poor results, the company is optimistic about the mobile market, mostly thanks to the Motorola brand. In its financial report, the Chinese manufacturer said that the number of smartphones sold jumped 56.4% in Latin America and 136.7% in Europe.

Latin America, in fact, is the sole region where Motorola is fighting neck-and-neck for second place in sales, pressing LG hard. Elsewhere in the world, as reported by IDC's Q2 Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker earlier this month, Lenovo/Motorola does not even appear in the top five mobile brands of shipped phones in the period.

This is why Lenovo is betting most of its chips in the region. In recent days, Motorola has been conducting events in major Latin American countries to announce the new smartphones in its G5 and Z2 lines. A launch also took place in São Paulo, Brazil on Thursday.

According to José Cardoso, general director of Motorola Brasil since February, while the Brazilian smartphone market grew 21% year-on-year in the first half of the year, Motorola saw sales rise 51% in the same period, upping its market share to nearly 20%, according to figures from consultancy GfK.

Smartphones continue to be acquired eagerly by Brazilians. According to the latest edition of Webshoppers, a quarterly report by e-commerce consultancy Ebit, the segment telephony/cell phones led e-commerce sales in Brazil in the first half of the year, accounting for 22.3% of all e-commerce revenues in the period, although it was only fourth in terms of volume, with 10.3% of all e-commerce products shipped.

Cardoso said that Motorola has "consolidated" its vice leadership of the Brazilian market in the last two years.

Sergio Buniac, general manager for the region, told BNamericas that the company has been growing 30-40% faster than the market in Latin America, and that growth has been seen in all countries.

The executive cites data from IDC to claim that, unlike what Counterpoint and Gartner reports, Motorola has already overtaken LG to second spot in sales.

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