Sales up 44% in volume and 24% in value from a year ago
Chinese brands successfully penetrate region to increase market share
SMARTPHONE ownership continues on its uptrend across South-East Asia, raising total sales in the last 12 months in the seven markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia to a high of nearly 120 million units.
The latest GfK findings for the region reflect a spike in smartphone (including phablets) sales by 44% in volume and 24% in value (to US$16.4 billion) compared with the same period a year ago, the market research firm said in a statement.
The period under review was from September 2013 to August 2014.
“The big developing countries are the ones fuelling the strong surge in adoption as many outside the big cities are probably just making the switch from their basic feature phone and acquiring their first smartphone,” said Gerard Tan, account director for Digital World at GfK Asia.
“For instance, the markets of Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have performed extremely well this year, reporting high growth of over 30% in generated revenue and even more in sales volume,” he said.
Based on the latest data from GfK, the fastest growing markets in terms of volume turnover in the past 12 months were Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, which reported a 70%, 56% and 44% spike in demand respectively over the previous period.
In value terms, it was Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand which drew in 52%, 32% and 31% increased sales dollars against last year, respectively.
“A key driver fuelling the strong market performance, especially in the developing countries, is the introduction of more low-end models by new Chinese manufacturers, making smartphones more affordable and taking competition in the marketplace to an even more intense level,” said Tan.
“These budget smartphone models have gone down particularly well in the developing markets,” he added.
Indonesia is the only market where homegrown brands have continued to grow in popularity, garnering over 16% share in volume and 7% share in value of the local market.
Meanwhile, Chinese smartphone brands are more prevalent in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam where their respective proportion of consumer spend have reached more than 10% of the total market.
“Although international brands dominate the region’s smartphone market, Chinese brands are gaining significant presence,” said Tan.
“Major international brands are losing share to Chinese brands … which are selling their smartphones, including phablets, within the US$50 to US$200 range,” he added.
More than 345 Chinese branded smartphones now exist across the region, GfK Asia said. While an internationally branded smartphone averaged at around US$253, a Chinese branded one costs only US$159 – 58% lower.
“Competition in the market will further intensify as Chinese manufacturers are stepping up their activities in more countries, notably Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand,” said Tan.
“However, with the much anticipated launch of new models by several international brands, we can expected to witness some fierce competition in this this region – with the eventual winners who will gain from the price wars being the consumers,” he added.
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