With 7 million cell phones produced in 2019, Tierra del Fuego had the lowest record in recent years

The industrial sector of Tierra del Fuego supplies 96 percent of the internal consumption of smartphones in Argentina, and had its worst production record in the last four years

As of October 2019, the Fuegian factories reached some
6.1 million cell phones produced, a figure that is well below the records of recent years. Sensitive to the rhythm of Argentine consumers and the devaluations of this year, the industrial sector of the southern province accused the impact of the economic crisis, but still remains as the
Argentina's main smartphone provider, by supplying 96 percent of the domestic cell phone market.

There is a strong month ahead with Christmas and from AFARTE, the Association of Argentine Factories of Electronic Terminals, they expect the final figure for 2019 to approach 7 million cell phones produced. It is the lowest figure in the last four years, even less than the almost 8 million phones produced in 2017.

As a reference, you have to go four years ago to find the
highest point of production, registered in 2015 with 11.9 million units sent to the market. Except for the recorded peak of 10.6 million cell phones in 2017, a figure that was
Driven by the renovation of 4G equipment and the financial tools available at that time, production was in a tailspin and was always below the two digits in the following periods.

"At the beginning of the year we estimate reaching 7.5 million units sold by 2019. Now, with a very different context due to devaluations, we expect to reach 7 million. If we add some accessories and imports, we will be just below planned, "said Federico Hellemeyer, president of the Association of Argentine Factories of Electronic Terminals (AFARTE). The cell phone sector, like any other durable consumer good, is affected by economic issues, devaluations and lower purchasing power, the executive adds. "But
there is also a global trend with less smartphone renewal, which in part is added as another factor that impacts consumption in Argentina. "

In turn, Hellemeyer points out that during these last two years there was also another change in the type of model chosen by the Argentines, where a greater volume of input and mid-range smartphones could be seen. "Beyond the local economic factors, it is also another global trend that impacts locally with mid-range phones that have some features of more expensive and complete smartphones, adds the president of AFARTE.

The expectation for next year is not clear to the sector. "A reactivation is expected that does not come. There is also no evidence that will allow us to see a more dynamic market in the coming months, and we are in very low volumes for our production capacity," Hellemeyer said. It is expected to have better details on the exchange rate to be attentive to contraband, a market that this year registered 750 thousand unregistered units, a high number that indicates that illegal activity persists despite devaluations and low consumption.

"We are clear that there are no registers of two digits as in 2017, which was the last year that the sector had good," said the executive on the perspective that AFARTE has for 2020, and that the 7 million units of 2019 should be the basis for production growth in the coming years.

"If these numbers are not reversed, it will be very difficult to maintain the production capacity that the industry in Tierra del Fuego was able to sustain," Hellemeyer said.


With 7 million cell phones produced in 2019 (t) Tierra del Fuego had the lowest record in recent years – LA NACION