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APAC mobile phone market is 108 million handsets big and growing

Smartphone companies in APAC are doing brisk business, if you are to go by the figures released by not one but two industry watching organisations in the region. There is an increased demand for mobile phones across the region. The overall mobile phone market grew by 8 percent in units and 14 percent in value over the last 12 months. This was revealed in a market study by research firm GfK.

There is a significant decline in demand for feature phones, and a spike in growth for smart phones. According to GfK findings, sales volume of smartphones reached a new high at over 42.2 million units, translating to an escalated demand of 61 percent. “Southeast Asian consumers, especially those in the developing countries are fuelling the exponential growth of smartphones as they switchover from their basic feature phone to the latest smartphone technology in their local market,” noted Gerard Tan, account director for Digital World at GfK Asia.

In terms of brands that are really doing well, Samsung has beaten Apple to take the top spot, according to mobile advertising platform Millennial Media’s Mobile Mix report in terms of all mobile devices being used. However iPhone still remains the smartphone of choice.

Even as the number of feature phones dipped over the last one year, in growing markets like India, there has emerged a category very specific to this market called smart feature phones – a tag being used by Samsung for low cost devices that bridge the gap between feature phones, and smartphones and help users with feature phones to upgrade to smart phones gradually. Tan informed, “Growth in this region is primarily driven by affordable smartphones which averaged in the price range of USD 100 – 200. However, the rise of local brands in countries such as Philippines and Indonesia has resulted in the growing market share of those in the USD 50 – 100 price segment—the budget price range which bridges the transition from basic mobile phones to smartphones.”

Total worth of the smartphone market across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia grew consequently to rise above the USD 11 billion mark. “In the past one year, one in every three mobile phones sold in this region was a smartphone,” added Tan.

The GfK study shows that Indonesia is the greatest contributor of smartphone sales revenue and volume in this region – the 15.8 million units sold accounted for around 37 percent of overall volume sales. Meanwhile, smartphone take-up rate vary across the countries from 30 percent in Indonesia to 146 percent in Philippines, 140 percent in Thailand, and 118 percent in Vietnam.

“Given that there is a substantial two-thirds of the region’s population who have yet to make the switch, there is still a sizeable potential market for manufacturers to capture and convert to smartphones users. Consumers in the developing regions will continue to be the driving force of the smartphone sector’s strong double or even triple digit growth performance in the coming years,” Tan concluded.