STAFF REPORT KHI: With the invasion of information and communications technology in almost every field of life ranging from personal life to interaction with people living on the other side of the globe, the smart phones are eventually set to take over.
Pakistan for the last couple of years has opened its market for innovative initiatives particularly e-commerce, e-education, e-banking, e-governance, online shopping, etc. which has not only led to improved performance but also helped people interact with individuals as well as companies to grab share in the international market of services.
Since smart devices – smart phones and tablets – are the main gadgets required to do allICT-related operations, their role has speedily become inevitable.
According to fresh data, smart phones are expected to touch 55 per cent of the countrys total mobile phone imports by the end of fiscal year 2017-18.
The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which attributed its projection to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Report of 2015, import of smart phones has shown exceptional growth already. The IDC is a global market intelligence firm for Information and Communications Technology markets.
“There was a 123 per cent increase in smart phones shipment to Pakistan between January, 2014 and January, 2015,” revealed the PTA saying this one of the fastest growth rates for smartphone imports in Asia, and Africa region.
Smartphone shipments to Pakistan currently account for 31 per cent of the total cellular mobile handsets imported by the country, the PTA says. The number has increased dramatically from FY12 when it amounted to just 7 per cent.
The PTAs forecast follows a September 2015 revelation that had estimated the country would have 40 million smartphones by December, 2016 if the e-commerce (market) trends continued unabated.
Online retailers have been witnessing massive traffic on their websites since July, 2014 following the launch of third-generation (3G) and 4G services in the country.
With more than one million new users jumping on the bandwagon every month, the number of Pakistans broadband users has skyrocketed to 21 million, of which 85 per cent are 3G and 4G users, by the end of third quarter of the current year. The number was less than 4 million before the arrival of 3G services.
High-speed mobile Internet market continues to grow, creating a huge demand for smartphones, the top selling category across all major e-commerce platforms. According to Daraz.pk, an online marketplace, the market statistics show that in September, more than two million users a month were looking to buy a phone online.
Experts are of the view that the smart phone market had been growing for the past few years because of Wifi Internet services. But the rollout of 3G and 4G services gave it a major boost, resulting in a sharp increase in the demand for devices, which are compatible with these technologies, they said.
Customers demanding LTE handsets is the latest trend in the market soon after the launch of 4G service, reveals Arsalan Siddiqui of Jibran Electronics, a mobile phone retailer in Karachi.
He said that the demand for high-end mobile phones surged following the launch of 4G but these handsets are mostly sold to corporate clients as these phone sets are fully capable of coping with the latest requirements. While bulk of their sales still come from low-end devices with prices ranging from Rs10,000 to Rs20,000, he explained.
“Low-end Chinese mobile phones and local brands such as Qmobile, Huawei, Voice and G5, sell like a hot cake,” he maintiained.
While on the other hand, online retailers say their smartphone sales have gone up mainly in branded category – high-end mobile phones.
According to PTA, 21 per cent browsing of e-commerce websites is done through smartphones or tablets mostly by younger population – those aged between 18 and 34 years of age – taking the online retail through a boom.
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