US$182mil worth of tablets sold from Jan-May
7in screen size, WiFi-only tablets gain in popularity
NEARLY 450,000 tablets flew off Malaysian shelves from January to May this year, over 170,000 or 61% more compared to the first five months of last year.
GfK retail audit findings on tablet sales showed at least 78,000 tablets being snapped up monthly since the beginning of the year, with the highest sales being 97,000 in the month of May alone.
Prices also declined gradually over the last 12 months, from US$497 in June 2012 to the most recent month of May where average price of tablets reached a low of US$397, reflecting a substantial price drop of 20% in a year, the market research firm said in a statement.
“The immense popularity of tablets in Malaysia and around the region has created much buzz in the market and has intensified competition among key players who are offering new models and attractive promotions in their quest for a share of the consumer dollar,” said Selinna Chin, managing director for GfK in Malaysia.
“For instance, smaller tablets have started surging in popularity recently, thanks to lower pricing driven by stiff competition in the market,” she said.
In the first five months of this year, the 7-inch and below tablet screen size segment has generally been seeing a consistent growth in sales volume from some 37,000 units in January to around 57,000 in May.
This corresponds with the gradual lowering of prices for such tablets, from US$474 in January to US$397 by May. This preference for smaller tablets has also been shrinking the market share of the bigger tablets.
Furthermore, 8in to 9.9in tablets saw a plunge in market share from 38% in 2012 to 16% this year.
Another notable trend was the recent increased take-up of WiFi only-models. GfK reports showed a three-point jump in overall volume share of this segment from 22% in the June 2012-November 2012 period to 25% in the December 2012-May 2013 period.
“The vast improvement in wireless broadband in Malaysia has increased the number of hotspots available, which helped drive the uptake of WiFi-only models,” said Chin.
“Another key factor is the high penetration rate of smartphones in the country, which serves to facilitate tethering and do away with the need for an external Internet connection,” she added.
According to the latest GfK report for the month of May, the Malaysian tablet arena consists of 142 models spanning 44 local and international brands.
“We foresee more brands making a foray into the Malaysian tablet market and giving the existing big players a run for their money,” Chin said.
“Prices will continue to fall, along with the introduction of more new features to step up the intensity of competition and make the marketplace a more exciting one for consumers,” she added.
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