Smartphone war all about BRICs, emerging markets

Smartphone war all about BRICs, emerging markets

Summary: China, Brazil and India will be among the top four smartphone markets in the world by 2018, according to ABI Research. That reality means there's room for a rival to Android and Apple's iOS.


The smartphone war is far from over, but the battlegrounds are quickly shifting to Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) and other emerging markets.

ABI Research said that China will replace the United States as the largest smartphone market in 2013. Brazil and India will be in the top four countries in smartphone shipments by 2018. Russia will be the 11th largest smartphone market in 2013 and reach No. 7 by 2018.

For all the duopoly talk with Google's Android and Apple's iOS in developed markets, there is plenty of room for another platform to emerge. Indeed, that's why Mozilla's Firefox OS is starting outside the U.S. and coming to emerging markets in short order. Emerging markets are another reason why it's hard to exclude BlackBerry, which does well in Asia Pacific by selling BlackBerry 7 units, from the smartphone race. Blackberry also fared well in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Meanwhile, Windows Phone could ride Nokia to emerging market growth to some degree. Nokia, however, is under pressure in China and is attacking its problems with its non-Windows Phone Asha devices to fend off Android.

Nokia's Asha 310 for India.


According to ABI, the top five countries in 2018 will be 51 percent of global smartphone shipments and BRIC countries will be 33 percent of the market. By 2018, Western Europe and North America smartphone shipment share will be 33 percent too.

That forecast is why established vendors and current leaders are feeling the heat. For instance, Apple has been long rumored to be developing a low-cost iPhone. The company really has no choice. If Apple misses the low-cost curve it could lose in the emerging markets.

Another thing to note: Emerging market smartphone growth is going to crush prices. Average selling prices for smartphones are only gong to fall in the future. Smartphones are really just feature phones and dumb phones 2.0.

Topics: Smartphones, Android, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mobility, Nokia, BlackBerry

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  • The fall of Apple has begun!

    With declining ASPs, Apple has no other choice but to introduce low-cost phones and tablet devices. The lack of synchronization between the supplychains as well as the engineering cost of maintaining two separate OS platforms will ultimately cause Apple to completely cede OS X marketshare to Windows. This will be noticeable once the number of Windows Store apps reaches the 250K number. And it is at 100K now. Only a matter of time before this occurs.

    Low-cost iphones and ipads will cause another problem for Apple and even Samsung. Which is the need to increase the component supplychain while tailoring their internal development and manufacturing costs to suit the lower product selling cost. So increase in supplychain has to be accomplished with higher or same R&D costs. Ultimately this will only reduce their gross margins. Apple shows somewhere between 30%-40% gross margins across all of their products. This will ultimately go down to the 10%-20% that companies like Motorola and Nokia used to possess.

    It really looks to be a bad time to buy and hold Apple stock based on this reason alone. Sell Apple stock and sell it now!
    • timing is all

      Worked on pcs and windows since inception in workplace (help desk, network super for my dept,
      • Full comment, 2nd Try

        WHY AM I CONSTANTLY HAVING MY POSTS DROPPED after a few words? One more time:

        Worked on pcs and windows since inception in workplace (help desk, network supervisor for my department and general go-to person for software applications. Could not wait for retirement and no more need for PC at home. While like my Macbook and iPhone - definitely did not have timing on my side when it came to platform change. Apple has some very real problems and seems loathe to admit that this is case!
    • Yep

      It is actually quite funny how US media sees Apple as dominating the market with Android and how media in the rest of the world copies these news. The fact is that Android is dominating alone. iOS marketshare was 17% Q1/2013 and forecasted (even by Apple itself) to go down further in Q2 and possibly Q3. This means it starts closing single-digit numbers at fall. If this happens I think it will be a real eye-opener moment.

      That said, Apple might release cheaper iPhones to prevent this from happening but that would bring their ultimate margins down and even if the market share would stop dropping, their business in the eyes of shareholders would not be so magical at all any more. It is very interesting to see how they actually respond and succeed in doing so.
      • Re: Apple might release cheaper iPhones to prevent this from happening

        And that will take us to stage 2 of the repeat of Apple's 1990s history: stage 1 was falling market share, stage 2 falling profits, and then stage 3 was circling the plughole, on the verge of going out of business altogether.