Smartphones are everywhere and apps are the way forward for almost any budding online business. In Pakistan too, the smartphone boom is taking over the whole country and many online businesses are trying to adapt to the mobile first approach by catering to the smartphone generation.
Pakistan is reportedly one of the fastest growing economies in the world and has now become one of the hottest destinations for the mobile industry and global retail and e-tail giants.
Smartphone Penetration in Pakistan
Pakistan is expected to become one of the most mobile-savvy countries in the world, with an estimated 125 million mobile subscribers in 2015. But more importantly, smartphones make up a huge part of that number and are increasing in number every day. Smartphones made up 31% of all phone shipments in Pakistan last year, compared to only 13% in 2013.
According to a study by GfK, a German market research institute, Pakistan is 6th on the list of top smartphone markets for growth by value.
A lot of credit for this goes to the introduction of 3G/4G services into Pakistan. Today, a larger share of Pakistanis have a smartphone than India, where only 20-25% of the population has a smartphone, and the smartphone emergence is expected to continue. According to Pakistan Startup Report, the figure can potentially go up to 110 million people in the next 4 years.
The rise of the Affordable Smartphone
Another interesting factor in the domination of smartphones over feature phones is the affordability. While feature phones cost barely a few thousand rupees, smartphones are much more expensive and a premium one could have cost you a whopping 50 thousand or more when they first entered the market.
To make a case in point, Daraz.pk observed an over 50% price drop in smartphones in just two years’ time. The average retail price of a premium smartphone has tumbled down from PKR 61,000 to nearly PKR 30,000. On the other hand, the average number of smartphone sales has shot up by over 780% between January 2015 and January 2016.
Now, more players have entered the market with more affordable price points to cater to the rise in demand thus enabling more people to own a smartphone and discover its perks. More competition means different modes of market entry and sale. More and more manufacturers and retailers are choosing the online first approach in order to reach more people while less brick and mortar store associated cost, in turn, allows them to offer products at incredibly low prices.
Millennials – the main target group for smartphone brands
There is a large and growing demographic of millennials who were born to the internet. They are tech-savvy, tech-conscious and on a tight budget and according to a survey conducted by Grappetite, 80% of millennials spend a minimum of two hours online, daily. As a result, they are the main target of smartphone brands and as 77% of the population is below 30 years of age, the Pakistani market is ripe for smartphone growth.
Steve Jobs may have kickstarted the smartphone revolution, but it is Google’s Android that has taken it to the masses. The smartphone has enabled people to utilize technology to its best. It also opens new and better ways of living by introducing new connected technologies. Pakistan too is starting to see a glimpse of a better, more connected future and as more and more people jump on the smartphone bandwagon, it’s only going to get better and better.