ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan will have more than 40 million smartphones by end of this year 2016 as increase in number of mobile broadband users have registered a reasonable growth.
Based on current trends in e-commerce sector and as per market estimates, more than two million users a month are looking to buy a phone online and to capitalise on this growing demand, major industry players from service providers (telecom operators) to mobile phone makers and an e-commerce platform have partnered with internet giant Google to promote online trade by offering exclusive discounts on mobile phone purchases just ahead of Eidul Fitr.
In Pakistan, third-generation (3G) and 4G mobile phone users stand at 27 million as of May 2016 and continue to grow, creating a huge demand for smartphones, which is the top selling category across all major e-commerce platforms.
Publicly available data shows mobile phone imports in terms of value and not in units, making it difficult to figure out category-wise imports. However, market sources say less than 20 percent of Pakistan’s monthly mobile phone imports comprises smartphones.
This equation though is likely to change in a couple of years, they added.
It merits mentioned that Pakistan’s e-commerce market is still in its infancy and represents only 5 percent of conventional retail trade. However, the overall size of this fast growing segment has come close to $ 100 million, up by two-thirds from $60 million as of 2014.
A bulk of the country’s e-commerce transactions originate from Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, which comprise about 50 percent of customers. The remaining customer base is very thinly split between cities and towns nationwide.
With telecom operators rolling out 3G and 4G services in semi-urban and rural areas of the country – which usually don’t have outlets for branded products – the e-commerce market is likely to benefit a great deal.