Mobile phone usage has proliferated in recent years. Some areas of the world have enjoyed rapid deployment and high penetration of mobile telephony. 70% of the world’s population own at least one mobile phone. Based on the statistics, children in United States now are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book, with 85% of kids owning a phone as to only 73% owning books. (International Telecommunications Union, 2011) Without exception, Kenya is one of the countries riding the wave of telecommunication evolution. Mobile phone usage in Kenya has gained the ever increasing momentum. The latest statistics released by communication commission of Kenya state that the number of mobile phone subscribers in Kenya now stands at 29.7m increasing the penetration of mobile telephony to 75.4% (Jackson, 2012).
Among the mobile phones, Smartphones have gained popularity among the youth in Kenya. Some of the reasons have been linked the desire to have multifunctional handsets and manufacturers have continued to unveil affordable mobile phones. This has been made possible with the introduction of the Chinese affordable smart phones such as Huawei IDEOS handset. Other phone manufacturers namely Samsung and Nokia have introduced low cost smartphones that have enhanced greater adoption and use of the gadgets, which are very popular in urban areas. (Kachwanya, 2012)
Nokia has been the market leader in smartphones in the past however more mobile phone manufacturers have come to the market with better and more sophisticated operating systems such as android, by Samsung, ios by apple and RIM by blackberry. Consequently Nokia has lost its market share on smartphones with Samsung, Apple and Huawei taking the lead according to a press release made by Gartner in February 2013 report . (Gartner, 2013).
With this regard this study intends to investigate the specific factors that affect consumer choice in the purchase of smartphones. The study will focus on the 7ps of marketing mix i.e. product, price, place, promotion, people, process and physical evidence.