Smartphone First is the life motto of many in Brazil. Like in hardly any other country, smartphone users are not only dependent on their mobile companions, they are literally obsessed with them. Our study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017 has shown that 90 percent of Brazilian smartphone users have their device with them round the clock. 40 percent of Millennials spend more than 5 hours a day on their smartphones.
With a projected plus of more than 50 percent in mobile Internet connections by 2020, Latin America is one of the fastest growing smartphone and IoT markets worldwide. This is only logical, since there is still plenty of room for growth with a smartphone penetration of just over 50 percent. In a recently published report, from which the figures come, the GSM Association estimates that over 260 million smartphones will be sold in the region by the end of the decade. Brazil is likely to remain the frontrunner, where smartphone penetration is to reach nearly 80 percent by 2020.
Latin America Is Playing in the Smartphone Champions League
Latin American markets such as Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru are emerging as leading smartphone and IoT nations and are in no way behind established mobile markets in Asia, Europe and North America. In fact, the opposite is true. Our global study Smartphone & IoT Consumer Trends 2017, in which we carefully examined Brazil alongside Germany, India, Russia and the US, shows that people are literally crazy about their mobile companions.
While a global average of 25 percent of Millennials spending more than five hours a day on their smartphones, in Brazil it is a whopping 40 percent, making the Brazilian smartphone community the undisputed leader in the global market. Even 27 percent of the baby boomer generation, which is much less tech-savvy, uses their smartphone for more than 5 hours a day. 56 percent of Millennials check their smartphone more than 50 times a day, and 25 percent check it even more than 100 times. It is hardly surprising that Brazilians would rather go without their car, sex, family, friends and pets than being without their smartphone for a week.
Repair Time of 22 Days Spoils the Good Smartphone Mood
The importance of customer care is growing with increased dependency on smartphones. 35 percent feel lost without their smartphone, 29 percent feel frustrated and 20 percent feel stressed. If a device feature stops working or if a smartphone breaks completely, quick help is needed. This is the area where the Brazilian smartphone industry has a lot of catching up to do. If a repair is necessary, a processing time of around 72 hours will be accepted by most people, though that is extremely moderate, considering that excellent customer care should solve a problem within just a few hours. The actual average processing time for repairs in Brazil, however, is 22 days! Smartphone brands that focus on improving this aspect have good chances of winning market share in the fast-growing Brazilian mobile market.
Furthermore, this strategy could pay off because the respondents in our study said they wanted to spend much more on their next smartphone model. While only 4 percent spent more than $500 on their current device, 27 percent plan to pay that much for their next model. Contrary to many saturated markets, keeping up with the latest trends is an important driver of smartphone demand in Brazil. The brand image and possession of the latest model are the main motivators to purchase a new smartphone.
Global Rise of IoT Devices Is Also Unstoppable in Brazil
In addition to the continually growing smartphone market, the demand for IoT devices is surging. Here are some of the sample figures from our study: While 6 percent of Brazilians currently have a drone, 44 percent want one in the near future (+680 percent). 8 percent own devices in the area of smart home automation, in the future this could be 49 percent (+530 percent). Further IoT growth categories: Smart security systems with up to +400%, fitness trackers with +380% and virtual reality headsets with a growth potential of +370%. The signs for the smartphone and IoT industry in Brazil are quite good.
Summary: Latin America is one of the world’s largest mobile markets with more than 400 million mobile phone users. With a penetration rate of just 65 percent, the growth potential is still enormous. At the same time, people are crazy about their smartphones and new consumer IoT devices. Manufacturers who deal with Latin America’s specific circumstances will experience flourishing demand. B2X has been active in markets such as Brazil, Mexico or Columbia for many years and works with many of the leading mobile brands. Write to us and do not forget to follow B2X on LinkedIn!
Rodrigo Angel is Head of Operations Americas at B2X.