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                                                                                                                           Asean Affairs December 2, 2013  

Intensifying demand propels Southeast Asia’s smartphone sales volume by 61 percent in first three quarters this year: GfK
Half of all handsets sold is now a smartphone; Android and bigger screen models gaining share

The ongoing trend of upgrading from basic mobile phones to smartphones, particularly in Southeast Asia’s emerging markets has further deepened smartphone penetration in the region and driving robust sales of the popular gadget. In the first three quarters of this year, consumers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines have spent USD10.8 billion on nearly 41.5 million units of smartphones.

Among these seven individual markets tracked, Indonesia has the greatest smartphone sales volume and value. Since the beginning of this year, Indonesian consumers have already bought 14.8 million smartphones worth over USD3.33 billion. Thailand and Malaysia are countries with the next highest smartphone sales volume with 7.2 million and 6.4 million units sold respectively. However, in terms of smartphone sales revenue, the ranking of these two countries are switched with Malaysia garnering USD2.25 million while Thailand raked in USD1.96 million in the January to September 2013.

“The increasing affordability of smartphones, particularly in the developing markets is helping many consumers in these countries make the switch from their basic feature phones to own their very first smartphone,” highlighted Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital Technology at GfK Asia. “It is worth highlighting the significant milestone of September being the month whereby sales penetration reached the halfway mark; where one in every two mobile handsets purchased in the region is now a smartphone.”

According to GfK findings comparing January to September in 2013 to 2012, fastest growing market for smartphones were Vietnam and Thailand, both of which reported more than twofold surge, by 156 and 118 percent respectively in volume, and 113 and 114 percent in value.

In terms of operating systems, Android, with its 72 percent market share continues to be increasingly sought after across six of the markets. This platform is most widespread in Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore where the operating system now makes up 91, 83 and 81 percent of total smartphone sales in the respective countries. In Indonesia, proportion of Android smartphones sales jumped by 23 percent within a year, from 37 to the current 60 percent.

Another smartphone feature that is rising in prevalence is larger screen sizes. For instance, 4 inch and above smartphones which used to occupy 13 percent of the total sales last year has more than doubled its share. In the first nine months of this year, one in four (27%) smartphones sold has a screen size of at least 4 inches.

“The latest trend in the market now is phablets, which is defined as mobile devices with cellular voice phone functionality and a display between 5.6 inch and 6.99 inch,” said Tan. “Launched only recently around mid-2013, over 460,000 have already been sold and we will likely see greater take-up as more models enter market,” noted Tan.

“The substantial 50 percent of feature phone buyers in Southeast Asia who has yet to convert to using smartphone presents much potential still for manufacturers, and we predict a continued uptrend and exponential growth in the smartphone market in this region,” concluded Tan. “

About GfK

GfK is one of the world’s largest research companies, around 13,000 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the smartest methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2012, GfK’s sales amounted to €1.51 billion.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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