Brazilian smartphone market grew in revenue in Q1 2019

But the number of handsets sold in the country has dropped, says IDC

Brazil's mobile phone market has seen a revenue boost in the first quarter of 2019 as number of units sold dropped, according to research from analyst house IDC.

Revenue during the period reached 13.7 million reais ($3.5 million), up 8 percent on the first quarter of 2018, according to the report Brazil Mobile Phone Tracker.

Some 10.7 million smartphones were sold in Brazil during the first three months of the year, a 6 percent decrease in relation to the same period in 2018.

The decrease was lower than expected - IDC had previously anticipated a drop of 11 percent on the number of units sold. But launches of new mid-range and premium devices resulted in a change of scenario as consumers sought higher-spec, more expensive smartphones.

The numbers suggest the latest developments in Brazil differ to global trends, IDC says. According to the analyst's figures, 312 million smartphones were sold worldwide in Q1, 5,9 percent less than in the same period of 2018, with revenue reaching $105 billion, down 12.1 percent.

"The Brazilian market is different in that revenue has increased despite the fact [sales] volume has decreased," says IDC Brazil analyst Renato Meireles.

According to Meireles, the segment's performance in the first quarter was impacted by the still unfavorable macroeconomic scenario in Brazil, which prompted a consumer spending halt.

Despite those challenges, revenue increased and this is explained by the increase in prices, impacted by exchange rate fluctuation and the increasing market share of premium and intermediate products, Meireles argues.

Sales of smartphones priced between 1.200 and 1.699 reais ($308-$437) rose 320 percent in Brazil in the first quarter of 2019, corresponding to an 18 percent market share.

For devices priced between 1.700 and 2.499 reais ($437 - $642), sales saw an increase of 247 percent on the first quarter of 2018, reaching a 7 percent market share.

The most expensive devices on sale in Brazil, priced above 2500 reais ($643), saw a 25 percent decrease and accounted for 7 percent of sales.

In the other price ranges, there was a decrease in sales compared to the first quarter of 2018 - smartphones priced below 499 reais ($128) sold 11 percent less. Devices priced between 500 to 799 reais ($128 - $180), saw a 28 percent decrease, while handsets priced between 800 and 1199 reais ($205 - $308) sold 24 percent less than a year ago.