08 Mar 2016
KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 09, 2016 - According to IDC's Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the total smartphone shipments in Southeast Asia (SEA) hit slightly over 100 million units in 2015, posting a year-over-year (YoY) growth of 22%. All the emerging markets in SEA witnessed double-digit growth YoY, with the exception of Singapore, the only mature market to record an approximate 5% YoY decline. Indonesia remains the largest market, accounting for nearly 29% of the total SEA market. It was followed by Thailand and the Philippines at 22% and 14%, respectively.
"Global vendors that took a hit when the China-based vendors entered the market have managed to regain part of their dominance, as they brought in devices suitably priced for the budget-conscious consumers in the region. Furthermore, local players gained share, particularly in Thailand, where local mobile operators partnered with smartphone vendors as part of a rushed initiative to convert their 2G network subscribers to the 3G network over the last few quarters. Such initiative contributed to the 42% YoY growth of the Thailand market," says Jensen Ooi, Market Analyst for Client Devices (APeJ), IDC Malaysia.
"Samsung remains at the top with 18% growth over 2014, as it launched the Galaxy J series that had models ranging from US$75 to US$200. The initiative was a hit in the market due to the affordability that could match China-based vendors' competitive price point. Moreover, Samsung engaged in various forms of marketing that targeted various segments in all countries. Asus broadened its range of handsets, introducing devices with price points ranging from US$100 to US$250 and larger screens such as the Zenfone 2 series and the Zenfone Go," Ooi added.
Upgrades to network infrastructures, increased coverage of 4G network, and marketing by local operators have spurred growth of 4G handsets in SEA. 4G-capable handsets more than doubled YoY in 2015 as 30 million units were shipped in. Leading the growth of LTE-enabled devices is Indonesia, then Thailand. However, the availability of 4G services for most emerging countries still remains confined to large cities and will require more time for mass consumer adoption.
The offline retail channel remains predominant as the main point of device purchase with 74% share, followed by operators at 20% and electronic retailer (eTailer) only at a mere 3% share as of 2015. However, the sales of handsets via eTail channel witnessed an 83% growth YoY, relative to the growth of handsets in the SEA market. Smartphone vendors employed various methods, often relying on flash sales for selected models to create the perception of exclusivity. Furthermore, discounts or freebies are bundled together for early birds to drive demand. Vendors that are new in the country often tap into the eTail space for exposure as part of their initial expansion plans.
IDC expects the smartphone shipments in SEA to continue its upward trend over the next few years, reaching 113 million units (12% growth) in 2016 and 166 million units by 2020. The countries that will continue to lead the growth will be Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. 4G-enabled devices are expected to grow much faster than the overall smartphone market.
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