Posted : 2013-04-07 19:13
Updated : 2013-04-07 19:13

Koreans change phones most often

By Rachel Lee

Korean smartphone users change their gadget more frequently than in any other country, data showed Sunday.

According to the data released by Strategy Analytics (SA), 67.8 percent of Korean smartphone users changed their phones last year. The figure indicates more than two-thirds of users bought new phones. The report covered a total of 88 countries.

Chile came second with 55.5 percent, followed by the United States at 55.2 percent and Uruguay at 53.6 percent. Bangladesh was the last of those surveyed at 8.4 percent.

Here, most consumers sign a two-year contract with mobile carriers who subsidize their smartphones. Given that consumers tend to change their phones after the contract ends, the replacement rate could be expected to be about 50 percent. The higher rate of replacement means a large number of Korean consumers switch to a new phone even before their contract expires.

"Korean consumers tend to follow trends all the time so they can keep everything up-to-date, especially gadgets like smartphones and tablet PCs," said the owner of a KT shop in southern Seoul, asking not to be named. "Some of our customers here come in and get the latest phone even if their contract is still valid for more than a year. I don't think they think getting a brand new one is necessarily a waste of money." KT is Korea's second- largest mobile-phone carrier.

"I bought an Apple iPhone 4 last summer and, after about three month, the iPhone 5 was released," said Lee Jong-hyuk, a 27-year-old officer worker, Sunday. "I already knew it would come out soon so I bought it without any hesitation. I like trying new gadgets and experiencing new technology anyway, but most importantly I don't want to fall behind the people around me by keeping an old phone."

The SA report expects the figure for Korea to increase by 2.2 percent this year, reaching 70 percent despite the economic recession with near zero economic growth. The analytics firm also predicts the replacement rate will fall slowly from next year, reaching 62.9 percent in 2017, but the report forecast the figure would not decline below 60 percent over the next four years.

Korea is home to Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, the world's leading makers of smartphones and other electronics.

관련 한글 기사

"휴대전화 잦은 교체, 한국인 세계 1위"

작년에 67.8%가 바꿔…2위 칠레와 12.3%p 차
올해 시장 정체 와중에도 교체율은 고공행진 지속 예상
    한국인들이 세계에서 휴대전화를 가장 자주 바꾸는 국민이라는 미국 시장조사업체의 조사 결과가 나왔다.

    7일 세계 88개국 휴대전화 시장을 조사한 스트래티지애널리틱스(SA) 보고서에 따르면 지난해 우리나라 휴대전화 이용자들의 연간 제품 교체율은 67.8%로 세계 최고였다. 지난 2012년 한 해만 따져도 이용자 중 3분의 2 이상이 휴대전화를 새 것으로 바꿨다는 뜻이다.

    한국 시장의 휴대전화 교체율은 2위 그룹인 칠레(55.5%), 미국(55.2%), 우루과이(53.6%)의 교체율보다 현격히 높았고, 교체율이 가장 낮은 방글라데시(8.4%)의 8배에 이르렀다.

    고객들이 휴대전화기를 살 때 이동통신사와 2년 약정을 하는 경우가 대부분이라는 점을 감안하면, 모든 고객이 약정 종료 직후 휴대전화를 바꾼다고 가정하더라도 연간 제품 교체율은 약 50%가 된다.

    따라서 우리나라의 경우 기존 약정이 만료하기도 전에 새 제품을 사는 사람이 매우 많다는 뜻이 된다.

    올해도 이런 경향은 더 심해질 것으로 예상된다. 한국 휴대전화 시장이 '제로 성장'에 가까운 정체로 접어드는 와중에도 휴대전화 교체율은 지난해보다 2.2%포인트 올라 70%에 이를 것이라고 SA는 전망했다.

    한국의 휴대전화 교체율은 내년 이후부터 조금씩 떨어지지겠지만, 4년 뒤인 2017년까지도 60% 아래로 낮아지는 일은 없을 것이라고 SA는 예측했다. 2017년 국내 휴대전화 교체율 전망치는 62.9%다.

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