Windows Phone NokiaWith the release of Huawei’s Ascend W2 Windows-powered smartphone in Asia imminent, and rumors surfacing that Samsung, Sony, and Micromax may release Windows Phone (Microsoft’s mobile operating system) handsets in the near future, Jana surveyed 1,500 panel members in 9 countries to gauge their interest. Thanks to the growing popularity of Windows Phone in emerging markets, the availability of budget-priced (under $200) handset offerings, and an influx of new smartphone models, the Windows Phone could entrench itself as the second most popular mobile operating system in the world.

Windows Phone Is Popular in Emerging Markets

 

Windows Phone has piqued consumer interest across emerging markets. The table below features the top three preferred mobile operating systems among respondents:

What type of operating system will your next mobile phone have?

According to worldwide Q3 2013 sales figures from IDC, Windows Phone devices outsold iPhones in 24 markets including Colombia, India, Kenya, Mexico., Nigeria, South Africa, Thailand, and Vietnam, many of which list among the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets.

Windows Phone has seen particularly strong growth in India; in Q2 of last year it was the second most popular operating system among smartphones sold in India for the third straight quarter and saw a 156% growth in YOY sales in Q3 (a figure unmatched by any other major mobile operating system). With India projected to add 207 million new smartphone users this year, Windows Phone’s surge in popularity in the country has come at an opportune time.

Respondents to Jana’s survey spoke to the power of the Microsoft Windows brand, and the potential compatibility with their PCs as reasons to buy a Windows Phone:

  • “I want to use Windows on my next phone. I love to use Windows phones” (34, male, India)

  • “It will outperform my previous mobile operating system” (34, male, Indonesia)

  • “It is a smart operating system and is convenient for surfing the web” (25, male, Vietnam)

  • “Conversant with windows and can sync with my PC” (45, male, Kenya)

  • “I enjoy having Windows functions” (18, male, Nigeria)

  • “I like the Windows brand” (24, male, Brazil)

  • “It connects well with my PC” (22, male, Mexico)

  • “Because Windows is a good operating system. It is easy to create emails and access the Internet more like a laptop does” (23, male, South Africa)

Windows Phone is Priced for Emerging Market Success

 

Releasing a range of handsets under $200 is an important step for acquiring emerging market smartphone users. In Jana’s survey, 75% of respondents in India, and 74% of respondents in all countries surveyed, said that they plan to spend $200 or less on their next mobile phone. With two Nokia models (the Lumia 520 and 525) priced under $200, one from Huawei, and potentially even more from Huawei and Micromax on the way, Windows Phone has placed itself firmly within the reach of the majority of smartphone buyers in emerging markets.

Top Global Manufacturers Plan to Release Windows Phones

Three of the top five most popular mobile phone manufacturers among respondents will have a Windows-powered smartphone for sale in emerging markets by the end of the year, a move which could spell increased market share for the Windows Phone OS.

Below is a table featuring the top five mobile phone manufacturers among respondents in each country surveyed:

What brand of mobile phone will you buy next?

Overall, Samsung was the most popular brand of mobile phone among respondents, receiving 32% of all responses, but Nokia (27%) was not far behind. Given that Nokia currently accounts for 90% of all Windows Phones sold, continued popularity and sales in emerging markets could lead to an increased market share for Windows Phone worldwide.

When Samsung and Sony release their own Windows Phone, consumers who prefer to purchase their handsets from the aforementioned brands will no longer have Android OS as the only option. More Windows Phone options from popular global brands will likely mean more overall consumer interest and greater OS market share for Microsoft.

 

With multiple handsets priced below $200, and a swell of popularity in emerging markets, 2014 could be the year that Windows phone establishes itself as the second most popular smartphone OS worldwide. What do you think about the prospect of Windows Phone in emerging markets? Let us know on Twitter: @Jana