Smartphone sales soar in SE Asia
Demand for smartphones in Southeast Asia achieved a new peak in the first half of 2015, as consumers across the region’s seven key markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Cambodia continued to spend more on the gadget.
Region-wide sales topped US$8 billion in sales value in the first six months of this year. Latest GfK point of sales tracking for January to June 2015 revealed a surge in demand by 3.2 million smartphones compared to the same period a year ago.
Sales rose the least in Singapore, a somewhat mature, developed market for smartphones, and in neighbouring Malaysia, where the economy is stagnant and consumers reduced spending after the introduction of GST on April 1.
The other five countries in GfK’s survey reported positive year-on-year growth in their respective smartphone sales in the range of between seven per cent and 27 per cent. The three biggest smartphone markets in the region are Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, where sales volume soared to around 14.9 million, 6.6 million and 6 million units respectively in the first six months of this year.
The three fastest growing markets were Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines, which all reported heightened demand from last year by 27 per cent, 13 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
GfK commenced point of sales tracking of the mobile handset market in Myanmar at the beginning of this year*. In January to June, nearly 3 million units of mobile handsets were sold in the country, of which nearly 89 per cent were smartphones.
“The availability of a wide range of lower price option nowadays have made it possible and much more affordable for price sensitive consumers in these developing markets to switchover and own their first smartphone,” noted Gerard Tan, account director for technology.
“For instance, while only 15 per cent of smartphones sold in the first half of 2013 cost US$100 or less, GfK reports revealed that this segment now occupies 35 per cent of the total market two years on, with Indonesia being the country with the most number of entry level smartphone brands and consumers in this region.”
Chinese manufacturers have been playing a crucial role in transforming the market which was once dominated by international brands. By June 2015, one in every four smartphones sold in the region was a Chinese branded model, as compared to only four per cent just two years ago.
“Following their successes breaking into the entry level segment, Chinese brands can be seen introducing models with design and features which are comparable to those offered by today’s international brands; in effort to shift consumers who are currently spending on mid to high-end smartphone models towards their offerings,” said Tan.
“The perception of Chinese brands has been elevated considerably as a result of their heightened marketing campaigns and the opening up of dedicated showrooms and retail counters. This could greatly intensify the competition and shakeup the region’s smartphone marketplace,” he concluded.