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Southeast Asia Upgrades to Smartphones

Consumers in Southeast Asia are upgrading from basic mobile phones to smartphones and they spent a total of US$10.8 billion on these devices in the first three quarters of 2013.

A newly released report by GfK shows that about 41.5 million units of smartphones were purchased by consumers from
Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines this year.

Indonesia demonstrated the highest smartphone sales volume and value in these emerging markets with consumers in the market purchasing 14.8 million smartphones worth over US$ 3.33 billion.

The next highest smartphone sales was recorded by Thailand and Malaysia as they sold 7.2 million and 6.4 million units respectively.

“The increasing affordability of smartphones, particularly in the developing markets is helping many consumers in these
countries make the switch from their basic feature phones to own their very first smartphone,” said  GfK Asia analyst.

Android rules

With a wide selection of brands, models and price points to choose from, Android has grabbed a huge 72 per cent market share and is extensively used in Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. Percentage of Android smartphones sales jumped from 37 to 60 per cent within a year, in Indonesia.

The reason Android smartphones have higher market share far  more than iPhone and Window Phone is because of the price. With less than US$ 60, you can own an Android smartphone.

South Asian consumers now prefer larger screen sizes, and the sale of 4 inches and above smartphones has doubled this year. 27% of smartphones sold in the first three quarters of this year has a screen size of at least 4 inches.

That predicts continued uptrend and exponential growth in the smartphone market in this region and advises manufacturers
to target the 50 per cent of feature phone buyers who have not yet switched to using these devices.

Big Screen Smartphone

The latest trend in the market now is phablets, which is defined as mobile devices with cellular voice phone functionality and a display between 5.6 inches and 6.99 inches, Launched only recently around mid-2013, over 460,000 have already been sold and we will likely see greater take-up as more models enter market and they become radically inexpensive. Who would have believed that a large screen smartphone could now cost less than 5,000 baht.

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