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Colombia is the third-largest country in Latin America by population and the fourth by GDP, according to July 2014 CIA World Factbook estimates. The country is also the third-largest smartphone market in the region, with 16.7 million users of the advanced mobile device in 2015, eMarketer estimates.
The number of smartphone users will rise to 24.3 million in Colombia in 2019, bringing the penetration rate of such devices up to 69.7% of all mobile phone users that year.
Colombia’s growing smartphone market is currently dominated by non-US manufacturers offering a wide range of options, from top-notch flagship devices to affordable options with costs around or below the $100 mark. According to The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU) estimates released in June 2015, Seoul-based Samsung led the market in 2014, with a 35.0% share of smartphone users. Chinese manufacturer Huawei came in a distant second, with a 13.0% slice.
North American manufacturers Apple and BlackBerry, both of which offer a narrower variety of entry-level priced devices in their lineups, trailed behind, with estimated smartphone user shares of 10.0% and 9.0%, respectively, last year.
The CIU calculations regarding smartphone users in Colombia were more bullish, with a base of 28.9 million such users in the country in 2014. Among those users, instant messaging was the most commonly performed activity, cited by an unsurprising 96%.
What is somewhat surprising, though, is the lead WhatsApp has gained over competitors in the instant messaging category. Fully 88% of IM smartphone users mentioned the platform, acquired by Facebook in 2014. Cross-referencing CIU estimates, that works out to at least 24.4 million WhatsApp users in Colombia in 2014. In April 2015, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the platform had reached more than 800 million active users.
Within the IM category in Colombia, another Facebook property, Facebook Messenger, came in second, with 7% of respondents. Microsoft’s Skype was third, at 4%.
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