Philippines fastest growing smartphone market in SEA

Country sees highest jump in smartphone market share, on the back of sales growing over four times, amid wider growth in region driven by devices priced in the range of US$100 to US$200, says GfK Asia.

The smartphones market in the Philippines grew the fastest among Southeast Asian countries over the past year, which also recorded the fastest increase in marketshare versus feature phones.

In a report Monday, GfK Asia said the market share of smartphones in the Philippines grew from 9 percent to 24 percent within the year. Smartphone volume sales grew 326 percent in the last 12 months, it added.

"In the latest 12 months, smartphones totaled 3.34 million, as compared to a year ago, which was only 785,000," a GfK spokesperson told ZDNet.

In contrast, smartphone volume sales for Southeast Asia in seven key markets of Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, grew 61 percent to reach almost 29 million units with customers spending about US$8.75 billion on handsets.

A total of 118 million units of mobile handsets were sold in the region, bringing in almost US$13.7 billion to the region's mobile market. Feature phone sales grew 12 percent in the region as customers in the region bought an additional 10 million units compared to a year ago.

Cheaper smartphones driving adoption
Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia, said: "Feature phones still reign as the more prevalent mobile phone type used by consumers in the region's emerging markets. However, smartphones adoption is escalating at a rapid pace with individual country's growth rates reported in the range of 42 to 326 percent."

"Unlike the more developed countries like Singapore and Malaysia, smartphone sales penetration levels in some of the less developed markets such as Thailand and Vietnam are still relatively low at 19 and 11 percent respectively, leaving a significant portion of the population still available for potential growth," Tan said.

GfK Asia said smartphone growth in the region is driven primarily by the more affordable devices priced in the range of US$100 to US$200 which is currently dominating the market.

"With major manufacturers recently announcing their intentions to launch low-end smartphones priced below US$100, the device will be within the reach of an even larger pool of consumers and the market expected to grow even faster when these models are made widely available," said Tan, adding that this will increase the demand for smartphones in the region among feature phone users.

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