South Koreans top in smartphone replacement rate

Smartphone owners in South Korea changed their phones the most frequently worldwide in 2012, ahead of Chile and the United States.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

More than two thirds, or 67.8 percent, of South Korean smartphone users changed their devices last year--becoming the country to do so the most.

Smartphone users in South Korea changed their handsets the most globally in 2012.

By a sizable margin, the number of South Koreans who replaced their smartphones exceeded those in Chile, which was second place at 55.5 percent, followed by the United States in third with 55.2 percent, Yonhap News Agency reported Sunday. The news daily cited data from U.S. research firm Strategy Analytics.

Smartphone owners changed their phones the least in Bangladesh, coming in last with 8.4 percent, the report added.

Strategy Analytics said it expects the number of South Korean smartphone users changing their devices this year to increase to 70 percent. The figure will, however, gradually drop to 62.9 percent by 2017 because of market saturation in the country, which is home to major smartphone manufacturers Samsung and LG.

As most South Koreans have two-year contracts with mobile carriers to subsidize smartphone purchases, a smartphone replacement rate of more than 50 percent is a sign that many users changed their products before their subscription contracts expired, Yonhap said.

GfK Korea said between March 2011 and March 2012, the South Korea smartphone industry doubled in value to US$5.4 billion, with 11 million smartphones sold during that period. That translates to an average of 92,000 smartphones sold each month.

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