According to the report shared by International data Corporation (IDC), during the first quarter of 2015, the shipments of smartphones in Pakistan have seen a tremendous growth of 124% year on year with shipments up to 21% in comparison with the previous three-month period.

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In the tech market especially smartphones, Pakistan’s market is flourishing day by day. Traditionally it was a feature phone market back in 2012 where about 93% of the shipments of mobile phones consist of feature phones as there was the lack of a network to support the new generation phones- smartphones.

The mobile market of Pakistan has made a new turn by shifting to the smartphone’s form factor in the last year.

According to the report, following key areas were highlighted to depict the true potential of smartphones market in Pakistan:

  1. 3G/4G users make 10% of the total subscriptions

Smartphones today account for 30% of all the devices that are shipped to Pakistan increasing from 25.3% in the previous quarter and from 14.7% in the last year as reported by IDC’s global Mobile Phone Tracker.

It is also predicted that soon smartphones will take over the feature phones by the end of 2017; thus increasing the proportion of smartphones market in Pakistan.

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  1. Rapid Shift from Feature phones to Smartphones

The trend of shifting from feature phones to smartphones began in 2014 following the availability of 3G and 4G networks.  After all who doesn’t love to have smartphones in this tech world?

Making the competition intense, vendors are now trying to get a share of the pie as the smartphones market is increasing and developing at a fast pace in Pakistan.

According to the data made by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), currently only 10% of the total subscribers in the country have made a shift to 3G/4G networks so there is a high chance that the percentage will increase as more people will subscribe to 3G/4G networks.

  1. 124% increase in the shipment of smartphones in Pakistan during first quarter of 2015

One of the main factors to ponder over is the penetration of mobile phones in the country that currently stands at roughly 75%. This shows that a good chunk of the population has yet to obtain any kind of mobile device. Once the percentage of these first-time buyers increases, the smartphones market will move a step further and is likely to get a boom.

Furthermore, an increase in the dual device ownership is expected in the country as consumers are buying smartphones while they still have the feature phones with them. In this way, the consumers will not only be able to take advantage of the added benefits that a smartphone provides but also they will be able to benefit with the on-net saving that telecom companies provide for both data and voice usage.

  1. Increase in the number of vendors

Stated by IDC in its report, the smartphone market is growing alongwith the number of vendors offering various SKU’s of these devices. The local smartphone company, QMobile is the market leader having a share of 58% both in the smartphone and feature phone category. Other key players include Nokia and Voice with market shares of 17% and 5% respectively. Also, new vendors are also entering to this prolific market.

IDC is predicting that there will be a fierce competition in the market as other players such as Samsung, Huawei, Voice and Lenovo are set to provide their offerings.

 “We expect to see fluctuations in the market’s vendor shares as large global players start to establish a stronger foothold in the market and new players try to gain a slice of the action,” says Nabila Popal, IDC’s research manager for handsets and display solutions in the Middle East and Africa.

According to Isaac T. Ngatia, senior research analyst for handsets at IDC Middle East, Africa, and Turkey:   “Vendors that get the right mix at price, product offering, and user experience will have the edge in driving increased share of the smartphone market,”

“A great example of this is the success that Huawei has experienced in Pakistan, securing a 7% share of the smartphone market in Q1 2015. This was due to the success of its Y520/Y530 and Honor 3/3C offerings, which had the perfect balance between price and features. As things stand, the price will play the most critical role in driving volumes in this market.”

The availability of 3G /4G networks has helped the smartphone industry to become prolific and set its roots across the country. However, there are a number of challenges that have hindered the growth and success of this segment. The major challenge that the industry faced was the requirement from the PTA for biometric sim re-verification in a bid to curb increasing terrorism.

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Consequences of this decision were a bit severe as there was a drop in the user base and an increase in the expenses of telecom companies for installing biometric re-verification equipment. Despite these challenges, IDC is confident that the volume of devices will see a positive growth as the process is smoothed out.

While smartphones are dominating the mobile market at a fast pace, consumers are still less informed about the full potential of smartphones- making SMS and use of voices key aspect in the market. If consumers are educated about benefits of this incredible technology, the country can see a quick adoption rate.

IDC in this regard has motivated and encouraged vendors to play their role in educating consumers about how they can enhance their experience by using a smartphone. This way vendors will be able to improve their ROI and can increase their sales as well.

Another key driver of growth, as described by IDC, is identification and incorporation of local content and /or applications which can help devices to be adapted to the common languages used in the country.