Budget Smartphones Fuel Southeast Asian Growth

More than 108m handsets were sold in the region in the year to March 2013, with 42.2m smartphones shipped during the period, an increase of 61 per cent on the previous year. This means an extra $3.4bn was spent by consumers during 2012 on 16m more devices than the previous year, according to GfK, and smartphone sales are nearing 50 per cent of all handsets purchases.

The total value of the smartphone market across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia rose above the $11bn mark, while the overall mobile handset market increased by 14 per cent in value and 8 per cent in units. 

Indonesia, home to almost a quarter of a billion people, saw the most smartphone sales in the region – although compared to its population, 15.8m handsets is just a drop in the pond. The Philippines saw sales growth of 146 per cent, Thailand of 140 per cent and Vietnam of 118 per cent.

“Growth in this region is primarily driven by affordable smartphones which averaged in the price range of $100 – 200,” said Gerard Tan, account director for digital world at GfK Asia. “However, the rise of local brands in countries such as Philippines and Indonesia has resulted in the growing market share of those in the $50 – 100 price segment—the budget price range which bridges the transition from basic mobile phones to smartphones.”

“The market for display size spanning 4.5″ and above which currently make up over 20 per cent of total market sales is growing and is anticipated to continue expanding as manufacturers launch newer and bigger models. In terms of operating system, the open source nature of Android has also acquired many fans, heightening its dominance with seven in every ten smartphones sold operating on the Android platform.”