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Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong see most high-end smartphone sales per capita

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Smartphones are everywhere nowadays, but have you ever wondered where in the world they’re most expensive? Or which countries see the highest sales of premium smartphones? Well, we now have the answers to these questions and a few others, thanks to a report over atYonhap, the South Korean news agency.

It turns out that smartphones (and high-end smartphones) in Europe or Russia aren’t that expensive after all. However, in South Korea and Japan the story could be different.

The average selling price of a mobile phone in Korea was $415 last year, compared to $390 in Japan, $350 in Canada, $323 in the US, and $281 in Norway (all prices are in US dollars). The worldwide average was $166. According to Strategy Analytics, the average selling price will be well over $400 in Korea until the end of 2017 at least.

This data shows that people in Japan and South Korea buy more high-end smartphones than those in other parts of the world, since we are talking about a general average selling price – that goes up the more high-end, high-price devices are being sold, and goes down when there are more sales of cheaper units.

In terms of average selling prices of just high-end smartphones, Hong Kong leads the pack with a value of $814. It’s followed by (once again) South Korea, with $643. After that come Taiwan with $625, the US with $523, and Poland with $510.

While this obviously reiterates the fact that people in South Korea (and Hong Kong as well) tend to buy more high-end smartphones compared to those in other places, we can also infer that smartphones are priced higher in these nations and territories based on their extremely high average selling prices. This isn’t something that’s been specifically covered by the data, though, so don’t take this conclusion for granted.

That Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong are the first in terms of high-end device sales per capita is really not surprising, considering that these two countries and one territory have always had great mobile networks, and also excel at internet connection speeds in general.

Furthermore, South Korea has among the highest device replacement rates in the OECD, as carriers over there throw extreme subsidies at the market (and have been fined numerous times for that by the state regulator). 28% of mobile phone users in Korea replace their handsets every year, compared to just an 18.1% average replacement rate in seven nations including the US, Australia, Canada, and Japan.

Smartphones account for 74% of all mobile handsets in South Korea, and there are already 23 million subscribers to LTE technology. That’s 40% of mobile phone users. This incredibly high penetration of LTE means that Koreans do like to live on the cutting edge of tech, and replacing their phones more often, as well as buying the most expensive smartphones are just two more manifestations of that.

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