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iPhone 5C: Priced too high for emerging markets?

Apple Lower-End iPhone for Emerging Markets

The day finally arrived… and the mounting speculation and leaked pictures about Apple’s launch of a “budget” iPhone proved true: the lower-end iPhone 5C is here and will be available in various colourful designs.

Pundits have argued that Apple have missed the boat to compete in fast-growing emerging regions where consumers are significantly more price conscious; others say today’s launch of the iPhone 5C will be detrimental to Cupertino’s brand. Whether the latter proves to be the case remains yet to be seen, but even if it does, it is a risk Apple has had to take.

This becomes strikingly clear when looking at global smartphone sales, where Samsung crept further into the lead, increasing market share from 29.7% to 31.7% in Q2 2013 – adding a staggering 25.8 million units. By comparison, Apple managed to sell a total of 31.9 million units in Q2 2013, only adding around 3 million units which actually translated into a decline in global market share from 18.8% to 14.2%.

Going beyond sales, the infographic below highlights how the different mobile operating systems fare in some of the key regional battlefields when it comes to traffic market share.

The main conclusion?

Apple’s iOS has been soundly beaten in both Africa, Asia and South America. And following today’s product launch one big question remains: Is the iPhone 5C priced too high to truly compete in the highly price-sensitive regions of Asia and LATAM?

Unfortunately, Apple did not disclose the unlocked price of the 5C, but only as part of a two-year contract at $99 for 16GB and $199 for 32GB (by comparison the iPhone 5S will sell at $199 for 16GB / $299 for 32GB). The fact that the price difference is not more outspoken would seem to suggest that the off-contract, unsubsidised version of the 5C will remain out of the price range for the vast majority of consumers in Asia and South America.

What impact do you expect the new iPhone 5C to have in developing markets?

Mobile OS traffic InfographicThe Webcertain Global Mobile Report 2013

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Graeme Sewell

Director of Innovation at Webcertain
Graeme has been in the international search industry since 2005 and is currently the Director of Innovation at Webcertain. Prior to his current position, Graeme was primarily cutting his teeth on apps and paid search and working with some of the most significant advertising platforms across the globe and servicing a wide range of multinational brands with strategic consultancy, campaign planning and bid management. Following this he co-founded and led KeywordFluency, a company specialising in turn-key multilingual solutions ranging from international paid search, SEO, online PR, social media and consulting, specifically designed for agencies.

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