Sales for smartphones this year reached 18 million in units within the first three months of the year all across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam. The market generated US$4.2 billion in the same period. The increase is 25 per cent more as compared to the first quarter of 2013. nagged up 14.8 million smartphones worth over US$3.33 billion.
According to GFK Asia Account Director Gerard Tan, the demand for mobile devices has stabilised in volume sales, but it continues to penetrate deeply into Southeast Asia. “More than half the market today is contributed by smartphones and the trend will be sustained as the switchover in emerging markets takes precedence.”
So which countries have the biggest smartphone market so far? According to sales volume results in the first quarter, it’s Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand with 68, 59 and 45 per cent sales increase respectively. The largest market is still Indonesia, with consumers buying over 7.3 million units of smartphones within the three month period.
Tan said that the intensified penetration in Vietnam and Thailand was driven by the launch of 3G technology in late 2013. “At the same time, a mix of Chinese and local brands have penetrated into the smartphone market of emerging countries with very attractively priced models to appeal to the low-end segment, managing to convert those consumers who cannot afford the premium phones.” He also mentioned that consumers are currently holding back to wait for newer smartphone models to arrive, and expects the smartphone market numbers to increase higher than usual in the next few quarters.
In related news, large smartphones with over 5.6 inches of screen size (or ‘phablets’) are the big trending thing in Southeast Asia right now. Over 1.1 million units have been sold for US$567 million, with Malaysia and Indonesia taking the lion’s share among all the countries in the region.