SEA smartphone sales hit 18mil units in Q1: GfK

  • Smartphone sales generated nearly US$4.2 billion in Q1
  • Demand for Phablets surged to over 1.1 million units

SEA smartphone sales hit 18mil units in Q1: GfKSmartphone take-up has passed the halfway mark in the overall handset market that includes basic feature phones, making up 55% in March 2014 across six South-East Asia markets, according to new data from GfK.
 
The markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam.
 
Smartphone sales volume continue to break its own record month after month to reflect its continued staggering growth of 43% in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2013.
 
In value terms, the gadget generated nearly US$4.2 billion within January to March this year, 25% more compared to a year ago.
 
Gerard Tan (pic), account director for Digital World at GfK Asia said demand for mobile handsets is stabilizing as indicated by the slight 2% growth in volume sales.
 
“But we continue to see consistent deepening of smartphone penetration in this region. More than half the market today is contributed by smartphones and the trend will be sustained as the switchover in emerging markets takes precedence,” he added.
 
The top three growth markets for smartphones according to sales volume in quarter one was Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, which reported 68%, 59% and 45% increased sales respectively. Indonesia is also the largest market with consumers there buying over 7.3 million units or two-fifth of the region’s smartphones.
 
Tan noted that the intensified penetration in Thailand and Vietnam was likely driven by the 3G launch last year, which served as a catalyst, tipping consumers in these two countries towards the smartphone segment.
 
“At the same time, a mix of Chinese and local brands have penetrated into the smartphone market of emerging countries with very attractively priced models to appeal to the low-end segment, managing to convert those consumers who cannot afford the premium phones,” he added.
 
This apparent trend is reflected by the fact that smartphones priced lower than US$100 turned in the strongest growth to become the largest contributing segment in dollar terms, accounting for over 30% in the first quarter.
 
Meanwhile, phablets, or large smartphones with screen size measuring over 5.6 inch have become increasingly sought after. Over 1.1 million units worth a total of US$567 million have been sold, with Malaysia and Indonesia being the biggest markets for this sector.
 
“Several popular international brands have officially announced the launch of a number of flagship models in the next two quarters of this year, and this could likely be holding consumers back from their purchases in anticipation of the new models.
 
“We can expect these events to play a major contributing role in boosting the smartphone market further across this region to turn in yet another stellar performance,” added Tan.

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