South East Asians are hooked on affordable feature rich smartphones. Just 2 years back Chinese brands commanded only 4% market share in the region, by June 2015 one in every 4 smartphones sold is a Chinese branded device that’s 25%. Chinese manufactures have been playing a crucial role shoring up sales for smartphones, with the likes of Xiaomi, OnePlus, Huawei and ZTE all offering cheap android phones for a fraction of what international brands charge. Vigorous marketing campaign has also raised awareness and erased perception about these brands.
Demand for smartphones achieved a new peak in the first half of 2015, as consumers across the region’s seven key markets—Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines and Cambodia continue to spend more on the gadget to generate over USD8 billion in sales value in the first six months of this year. Latest GfK point of sales tracking for January to June 2015 revealed a surge in demand by 3.2 million smartphones compared to the same period a year ago.
Except for the developed market of Singapore and Malaysia, the other five countries reported positive year-on-year growth in their respective smartphone sales in the range of 7% and 27%. The three biggest smartphone markets in the region are Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, where sales volume soared to around 14.9 million, 6.6 million and 6 million units respectively in the first six months of this year. Meanwhile, three fastest growing markets were Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines, which all reported heightened demand from last year by 27%, 13% and 10% respectively.
GfK commenced point of sales tracking of the mobile handset market in Myanmar at the beginning of this year*. In January to June, nearly 3 million units of mobile handsets were sold in the country, of which nearly 89% were smartphones.
“The availability of a wide range of lower price option nowadays have made it possible and much more affordable for price sensitive consumers in these developing markets to switchover and own their first smartphone,” noted Gerard Tan, Account Director for Technology. “For instance, while only 15% of smartphone sold in the first half of 2013 cost USD100 or less, GfK reports revealed that this segment now occupies 35% of the total market two years on, with Indonesia being the country with the most number of entry level smartphone brands and consumers in this region.”
“The perception of Chinese brands has been elevated considerably as a result of their heightened marketing campaigns and the opening up of dedicated showrooms and retail counters. This could greatly intensify the competition and shakeup the region’s smartphone marketplace,” he concluded.