The Southeast Asian mobile phone market is on the rise, having grown by 24% in volume in the past 12 months, according to analysts at GfK Asia. In the said period, the region accounted for 118 million units in mobile shipments. Key markets include Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, which have brought US$ 137 billion to the industry.
A key takeaway here is the 78% smartphone growth in the region. According to GfK Asia, smartphone use now accounts for 61%, even with feature phone sales going steady due to cost considerations.
Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK, says feature phones are still the “more prevalent mobile phone type used by consumers in the region’s emerging markets.” However, smartphones are starting to gain traction, with adoption “escalating at a rapid pace with individual country’s growth rates reported in the range of 42 to 326 percent.”
Indonesia is still the largest mobile market in the region, with a 26% sales volume growth. Both feature phone and smartphone sales also grew, at 19% and 56%, respectively. 4.5 million smartphones were sold in the past 12 months. It can be noted that BlackBerry is still the dominant smartphone platform in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the Philippines has showcased the biggest growth in smartphone use, at 326% increase in volume over the past year. Filipino mobile users also showcased the biggest jump in the share of smartphone use in the market, from 9% to 24%.
GfK notes that the rise in inexpensive smartphones is likely to contribute to the increased uptake, especially in emerging markets. With major manufacturers coming out with smartphones below the US$ 100 price level, “the device will be within the reach of an even larger pool of consumers and the market expected to grow even faster when these models are made widely available.”
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