Singapore leads the world on smartphone penetration – bad news for Apple

samsung singaporeSingapore has the greatest penetration of smartphones in the world, 90% of the 5.3 population according to the MMA, 92% according to Flurry. 2nd is Australia with 70%. Countries like the UK and America have only just passed 50% amongst the general population, over 70% amongst 15-65 year olds.

Singaporeans are mad about technology and the latest gadgets. They happily form queues for the latest ipad and the latest Samsung Note or Galaxy smartphone. Interestingly it’s this surge towards the Asian brand Samsung over the US brand Apple which could spell doom for the Steve Jobs-less mega giant as Singapore appears to set the trend the rest of the world follows….

If recent anecdotal evidence is representative across other countries then it spells the beginning of the end for Apple’s dominance. Samsung Galaxy S3 applephones have been selling out in mobile retailers in Singapore while there is still plenty of stock left of Apple’s iphone 5.

Interestingly there appears to be two ends of the scale as to why this is happening. Young, tech savvy innovators and early adoptors have taken up Samsung Galaxy III, Samsung Galaxy Note II and other android devices with a passion that used to be reserved exclusively for Apple phones.

At the other end of the spectrum cheaper smart phone also made with android systems also appear more popular amongst the  masses so Samsung appear to be grabbing both ends of the market while leaving Apple with the more corporate/middle of the road/older more conservative users.

A year ago the split in Singapore was about heavily in favour of Apple over Samsung, now Samsung is neck and neck and all the momentum is with them. As the most developed mobile country in the world with 150% penetration this is a great indicator of the future of the world’s tastes in mobile as Singapore is very representative of many walks of life and cultures due to its history, make up and foreigner heavy employer and employee weighting.

I ditched my iphone some years ago for a Samsung and have never looked back. My mobile marketing office is split half and half with the odd renegade still clinging to their BlackBerry’s like some ancient relic and I even interviewed someone with a Windows Nokia phone the other day! She was a real rarity but I admired her defence of the product as she had tried both Apple and Samsung products before staying with Nokia.

smartphoneWhat is more interesting are clients’ desires for an iphone/ipad application first and then an android one which is now 1-2 years out of date. There should be equal weighting between the two if a brand wishes to keep the growing number of android phone lovers happy with the app of their choice.

There is nothing more frustrating for users than marketing and promoting apps that half the userbase of the country being targeted can’t actually download!  That’s just called how to annoy your customers and get them to switch to a competitor who has thought about this like the FT with their HTML5 app that anyone can download for example.

The times are forever changing and if you’re still standing still you’re changing too ….backwards. Brands need to be one step in front of consumers not one step behind.