Many might think that Nokia, is a thing of the past in most countries around the world. However in the Philippines, Nokia is still the king of phones (Yes, you read it right).
According to a recent survey done by JANA, a Boston based mobile technology company, most Filipinos today still own Nokia phones over the likes of Samsung and Sony. However, unlike a decade ago when Nokia was owned by the majority of Filipinos, the numbers are lower these days. Despite that, it is still the top brand owned by Filipinos and is currently holding 28% of the market share, while Samsung is just a few percentage points behind at 24%.
While the firm did not disclose other variables in its research, I suspect some possible elements – such as status and income level can affect these consumers’ brand ownership choices.
Here in the Philippines, I still see people going around, clutching Nokia phones. During my daily 3-hour trip to and from my office, I always notice commuters using the older Nokia devices which are not smartphones, just feature phones. This probably means that majority of those 28% that owns a Nokia phone are non-smartphone owners.
What’s interesting is that two local smartphone makers are also among the top 5 most owned phones in the Philippines – MyPhone and Cherry Mobile.
Both brands release a number of phones almost every month – with a few flagship smartphone releases here and there. Both also have phones in three price segments – budget, mid-range, and high-end. The presence of these two brands in those categories, coupled with strong traditional marketing push in the country, makes Filipinos identify them as separate considerations from other local smartphone manufacturers.
Another surprising fact? Apple’s iPhone is not on the top 5 list.
Granted, Apple’s stellar smartphone is on a high-end price segment and is usually tied to telco plans. However, there is also a thriving second-hand iPhone market in the country. This makes me wonder – if the next iPhone, taking into consideration the recent announcement of 8GB iPhone 5Cs, can even have an impact on the smartphone brand ownership in the country within the next few years.
Back in 2012, Samsung replaced Nokia as the top phone maker in the world. However, Nokia claimed that it is not the case in the Philippines. In a 2012 interview, Nokia even declared that “the Philippine market is a very strong Nokia market. It still is a Nokia country. Nokia is in the hearts and minds of Filipinos.”
Indeed, rapid smartphone penetration might have hurt Nokia (now part of Microsoft) on so many fronts. The Philippines may just be the next country where Samsung will overtake the declining Finnish manufacturer. However, if the hearts of the Filipinos belong to Nokia as it claimed, then its products will always be in the pockets of every Filipino.
I wonder if that will change, especially since it has rebranded to Microsoft Mobile? The name it once had will no longer appear on future phones anymore.