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Asean Affairs   22 October, 2014

Smartphone sales in seven key Southeast Asia markets reached more than USD 16.4 billion in past 12 months: GfK

Chinese brands successfully penetrate the region to garner 6 percent increase market share

Smartphone ownership continues on its uptrend across Southeast Asia, raising total sales in the last 12 months in the seven markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, 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 percent in volume and 24 percent in value compared to the same period a year ago.

“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,” highlighted 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 percent in generated revenue and even more in sales volume.”

Based on the latest data from GfK, fastest growing markets in terms of volume turnover in the past 12 months were Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, which reported 70, 56 and 44 percent spike in demand over the previous period. In value terms, it was Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand which drew in 52, 32 and 31 percent increased sales dollars against last year.

“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,” Tan observed.

Indonesia is the only market where homegrown brands have continued to grow in popularity, garnering over 16 percent share in volume and 7 percent 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 percent 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 shares to the Chinese brands in price competition due to the low-cost of the latter which are selling their smartphones, including phablets, within the USD50 to USD200 range.”

More than 345 Chinese branded smartphones now exist across the region. While an internationally branded smartphone averaged at around USD253, a Chinese branded one cost only USD159—58 percent lower.  

“Competition in the market will further intensify, as Chinese manufacturers are stepping up their activities in more countries, notably Singapore, Philippines and Thailand,” commented 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 eventually winners who will gain from the price wars being the consumers,” he concluded.


About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

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