Brazil sees decline in smartphone sales

First quarter figures are lower but average ticket went up, says analyst firm IDC.

Smartphone sales in the first quarter of 2016 have dropped in Brazil, according to a report by analyst firm IDC.

Sales figures for the period have dropped by 32.9 percent in relation to the same period last year, with cheaper devices becoming a more attractive option, according to IDC.

This market niche -- of phones costing between R$1000 ($305.23) and R$1299 ($396.63) -- represented 4.4 percent of the total market and now accounts for 28.4 percent of all sales, the analyst adds.

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At the same time, the average smartphone ticket in Brazil has seen an increase, from R$790.52 ($241.29) in Q1 2015 to R$1139.23 ($347.73) in Q1 2016.

IDC predicts the Brazilian mobile phone market will shrink by 17 percent in 2016, with a 16-percent drop in the smartphone segment alone, as costs to manufacturers have risen and firms are not planning on investing in new launches.

"[These trends] impact the market negatively, but on the other hand opens space for smaller players to widen their footprint," Silva says.

"And we must remember that 35 percent of the Brazilian population is still planning on acquiring their first smartphone," the analyst adds.

While there's a recession impacting device sales in Brazil, smartphone sales will slow down in 2016 globally, as users in more mature markets are not replacing or upgrading their devices as often.

According to a separate report by research firm Gartner, global smartphone sales are predicted to grow by 7 percent only this year.

Feature phones

About 1 million feature phones were sold in Brazil in the first quarter, according to IDC. The analyst firm adds that numbers are in line with the downward trends seen in 2015, when 4.2 million were sold in the entire year.

"There is a concentration of players in the feature phone market. In 2013, we had 10 large manufacturers. Today, we have four the makers of 95 percent of all devices sold," says IDC Brazil analyst Diego Silva.

One of the companies focusing heavily on feature phones in Brazil is local manufacturer Positivo, which launched two low-cost mobile phones with basic specifications in the first quarter.


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