Apple has a prime opportunity in high growth emerging markets, according to a new study by Upstream, done in conjunction with Ovum, showed that among buyers in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Vietnam, Apple is the top brand when it comes to consumer wants, with 32 percent interest from the survey pool, with Samsung trailing at 29 percent and Nokia still demonstrating strong brand appeal in third with 13 percent.
The usage stats are still strongly in Android’s favor: The study revealed numbers that suggest Android is powering 296,493 active smartphone devices in these regions, versus 90,184 iOS-powered mobile gadgets. But Apple beating Samsung as the top desired platform for 2013 (the Korean company had the top honors in 2012) bodes well for Cupertino’s ability to promote future growth in regions where it doesn’t necessarily have all that much penetration currently.
There are challenges to turning that desire for Apple hardware into sales, however, and device cost is not least among them; most people in these regions are using lower cost Android hardware, the study of 4,504 consumers found, with 40 percent getting their mobile software through Google Play, 26 percent getting it through local operator storefronts and only 28 percent accessing that content through the App Store. So to get more inroads in this market, lower cost hardware is likely the right ingredient. Whether Apple wants to go there, however, is another question entirely.
Last year, we saw the company roll out its iPhone 5c, but the cost dynamics of the iPhone line remained relatively the same to consumers. Apple didn’t go down market with new hardware, and that could affect its ability to turn emerging market desire into emerging market traction. Still, it is working more closely with retailers and partners in countries like India to make hardware more affordable and accessible in other ways, so that could make up for the absences of cheap devices.