The next battleground for smartphone market share will be emerging markets, the poorer countries where most people still use regular phones and are slowly making the transition to smartphones.
Lately, there have been a handful of smartphone makers that produce cheap smartphones with really nice build quality. Xiaomi and OnePlus, two Chinese smartphone startups, are perhaps the best examples of companies attacking the low end of the smartphone market with affordable phones that rival features found in top-tier phones from companies like Apple and Samsung.
In China, for example, Xiaomi recently surpassed Apple in market share, largely because its phones are much cheaper. They usually cost $US200 or $US300. Apple and Samsung phones cost at least $US600. Some think Apple’s reluctance to make a cheap smartphone will cause it to fall far behind competitors that make affordable Android devices.
According to a survey by Jana, a mobile technology platform for emerging markets, most people in the countries Xiaomi sells in don’t want to pay the sky-high prices Apple and Samsung typically charge for smartphones. Instead, they’re in Xiaomi’s price range, which explains why the company is expanding its business to those countries.
That also means it won’t be long before a large chunk of the smartphone market will be using cheaper phones instead of premium, pricey devices.
Here’s the chart from Jana: