Korea’s Smartphone Industry Hits USD5.4 billion Mark

Demand for 4G LTE smartphones growing at an exponential rate

Riding high along with the global wave of smartphone frenzy is one of the world’s most technologically advanced and digitally connected country of South Korea. The ongoing smartphone boom saw the industry doubling in value in the last twelve months, selling nearly 400,000 units more than a year before; translating to an immense growth of 129 percent 55 percent in value and volume.

According to GfK Korea, Koreans penchant for smartphones saw an average of some 92,000 smartphones being snapped up each month. Within the recent 12 months, the USD5.45 billion smartphone market recorded 11 million units of this popular gadget being sold. Today, smartphones contribute 96 percent in value to the overall mobile phone sales and make up 85 percent of the sales volume.

“With the country’s high Internet connectivity, users have a more compelling reason to upgrade their telecommunication device from the basic feature phone to the more advanced smartphone,” commented Mr. Moongen Kwon, General Manager of GfK Korea. “Last year, over four in five mobile phones purchased were smartphones, making us a nation with one of the fastest rate of adoption and highest level of penetration in the world.”

The launch of fourth generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) services and expected completion of nationwide coverage by 2012 provide Koreans yet another good reason to further enhance their smartphones from 3G to LTE enabled ones. GfK’s report in recent months showed consistent spikes in month on month sales of LTE-enabled phones, with the latest January figures reflecting 42 percent take up rate among all smartphones, as compared to 32 percent the month before.

This surge in consumer demand has also prompted manufacturers to introduce more new and exciting LTE smartphones in the market. From 2 models available in the market last September, consumers now have options of over 49 LTE smartphone models to cherry pick from.

“The smartphone industry will no doubt continue to evolve rapidly. As the country continue in its quest to achieve full LTE coverage and migrating users to LTE networks, we can foresee competition to further heat up, as well as anticipate lots of interesting developments and exciting trends emerging in the  Korean telecommunications market,” concluded Mr. Kwon.