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Asian smartphone sales still lead world

Asian smartphone sales still lead the world market, with Asia Pacific tipped to remain the fastest-growing region this year.

Handsets are the main consumer electronic product bought both online and in stores across the region, according to a new study by market research company GFK.

The study shows 85 per cent of consumers polled across Asia Pacific have bought a consumer electronic item in the past 12 months, half of these purchases made over the internet. Across the 10 markets surveyed, a smartphone was the leading purchase.

India, Vietnam and Indonesia had the highest incidence of smartphone purchases during the period.

GFK head of retail, APAC, Jake Shepherd, says developing countries in the region have been strong drivers of consumer electronic sales.

“The huge, yet largely untapped, potential of the eCommerce industry in these markets is growing rapidly with deepening internet penetration and adoption of connected technology.”

While all product categories report online sales, offline sales still tend to dominate, says the report. For instance, while 69 per cent of Vietnamese consumers bought a consumer electronic product in the past 12 months, only 20 made the purchase online.

Shepherd says the consumer purchase journey generally involves seeking information to help with making decisions. In APAC, 44 per cent of consumers do online research before buying a smartphone, with most people checking customer review sites and the manufacturer or brand’s website. Talking to family, friends or colleagues ranks next on the list as an influential information source, especially in Hong Kong and Taiwan where one in four consumers say this helps them make their decision.

Only 19 per cent of consumers make their decisions based on in-store experiences, and Shepherd says it is important for businesses have a good understanding of the entire path to purchase to effectively formulate shopper strategies.

For the online survey, during February and March, GFK questioned nearly 6500 regular internet users between 18 and 55 years across 10 Asia Pacific countries – Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

GFK has more than 13,000 researchers and market intelligence from more than 100 countries.

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