Nokia Has A Fighting Chance In Emerging Markets, But Apple Should Worry

Despite tepid sales of its new Windows Phone models, Nokia may have an ace up its sleeve: its brand power in emerging markets.

According to a survey of four emerging markets commissioned by technology marketing firm Upstream, Nokia was the most popular smartphone brand in Nigeria and the second-most popular brand in Brazil and India (ahead of Apple in both cases).

Samsung, meanwhile, was the preferred handset brand in every country except Nigeria.

Nokia’s popularity is probably a legacy of its wildly successful feature phone business that made it the largest handset manufacturer in the world for a number of years. Nokia has immense goodwill it can capitalise on as emerging markets upgrade to smartphones.

Interestingly, Apple was not the preferred handset brand in any of the countries surveyed. Conventional wisdom usually holds that if global consumers had all the money in the world they would all buy Apple products. But it appears that Apple’s brand simply isn’t well-known in these markets, and so does not enjoy the same allure it does elsewhere. 

Apple faces an uphill climb as global smartphone market growth shifts to price-sensitive emerging markets. Not only is Apple less known than one might imagine, but it still hasn’t confirmed details of a rumoured low-price iPhone. 

According to Upstream’s data, it was only in Saudi Arabia that a plurality of consumers were willing to spend more than $450 on a device. The average selling price of an iPhone was more than $600 last quarter.

Click here for a larger version of this chart.

preferred handset brand

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