2010 - 2011 China Smartphone Market Overview
I just read an interesting Chinese-language report on smartphone usage in China and thought you might be interested in some of the data, so here it is. :)
The China smartphone market saw a great year in 2010, with total smartphone sales estimated at 30 million. Competition amongst smartphone operating systems has intensified, as has the competition between the handset manufacturers.
Compared to the Chinese mobile phone market as a whole, the smartphone market is considerably more concentrated, with the top 10 brands holding over 97% of the attention* of the market.
Although Nokia is the clear market leader, they saw their attention rate slip from 58% in 2009 to 50.3% in 2010, while HTC made the largest gain as it grew from 5.0% to occupy 9.8% of the market.
Smartphones in the price range of 1000 to 2000 Yuan had an attention rate of 50.0%, while phones under 1000 Yuan only had an attention rate of 4.5%.
The Symbian operating system has a higher attention rate than all the other operating systems combined, with Android coming in second at 14.2% and Windows Mobile at 12.4%.
Notably, Android's attention rate grew from 6.5% to 20% at the end of the year, while Symbian's dropped from 64% to 50%. This trend is expected to continue.
Based on a survey of IT workers in China, 46% plan on buying an Android-based smartphone for their next phone, while only 26% plan on buying a Symbian phone and 11% plan on buying an Apple phone.
*Attention is a metric used by ZOL based on the clickrates of Chinese Internet users. Data is obtained from ZOL's 85 websites and 79 other media sites such as Sina, Sohu, QQ, 163 and Taobao. It is used to estimate sales.
What Does This Mean?
With tiny penetration rates and very high growth rates, there's little reason not to expect the market to grow by leaps and bounds for years to come, obviously a huge opportunity for Smartphone makers.
For marketers, it seems some careful consideration will be required when it comes to deciding on whether or not to specifically target Smartphone users. The latest data shows that there are about 830 million mobile phone subscribers in China. 30 million or so smartphone users is still quite small in comparison. Similarly, the number of mobile Internet users was predicted to be 277 million in the middle of 2010, showing that the great majority of Chinese mobile Internet users are not accessing the Internet via smartphones. I'm thinking this means Chinese websites should be designed so that they are viewable on regular Internet-ready mobile devices.
I'm also interested in exploring the Chinese app market. I'm hoping what I'll find is rapid market growth in China and little focus on the Chinese market from Western app developers, resulting in plenty of opportunity for localizing apps. I'll post about smartphone app usage in China soon, so follow the feed or my Twitter account if you aren't already.