With falling price and continuous push from the telecom carriers, smartphone shipments accounted for more than half of Thailand’s mobile phone market for the first time even though the economy shrank 0.6% year-on-year (YoY) amidst the political conundrums that led to major roads in Bangkok being blocked for weeks.
This places Thailand as the third country in Southeast Asia after Singapore and Malaysia to ship more smartphones than feature phones.
According to IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Thailand mobile phone market began the year with 5.7 million units, which represent a 7% year-on-year decline. Dragging down the total market was feature phones, which faced a 27% YoY decline. Meanwhile, smartphone showed a healthy growth of 27% YoY.
“These mirroring changes are a reminder of the way affordable smartphones have been successfully replacing feature phones in Thailand. Perhaps the most potent force now is the emergence of smartphones that cost less than THB2500 (US$80), a category which did not exist in Thailand a year ago, but now account for almost 20% of the total smartphone market,” says Satianporn Suvansupa, Associate Market Analyst for Client Devices Research at IDC Thailand.
“The transition has been driven largely by the carriers, which have been relentlessly persuading customers to adopt smartphones after the 3G licenses were granted. These trends are in line with IDC’s prediction that 2014 will be the first year smartphone outsells feature phone in Thailand.”
The relatively well-off performance of smartphone shipment also indicates its steady imperviousness to the sliding economy and political difficulties that have put a severe strain on other client devices such as PC and tablet. This is due to increased importance of constant communications, and also smartphone’s ability to partially serve other devices’ functions.
“Phone usage has become such an integrated part of our lives now to the point that it’ll be difficult mentally and practically to delay our phone purchase once the current one is lost or broken down. As such, consumers may at worse respond to their drop in income by choosing a reasonably priced smartphone instead of stopping the purchase altogether.”
India was the highest growing market in Asia Pacific with a year-on-year smartphone shipment growth of over 186% in 1Q 2014.The vast majority of the country’s user base migrated to smartphones from feature phones and as a result Indian smartphone market outshone other emerging markets like China which registered a year-on-year growth of 31% in 1Q 2014.
The smartphone penetration in India still hovers at 10% and it is expected to grow due to a variety of factors including greater availability of low-cost devices and additional sales emphasis by top-flight vendors on less populous parts of the country.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the overall India mobile phone market stood at close to 61.07 million units in 1Q 2014 which is a 10% quarter-on-quarter dip and a mere 1% year-on-year growth. The dip in the overall mobile phone market shipments can be attributed to the 18% decline in the feature phone shipments from 4Q 2013 to 1Q 2014. This was offset by the smartphone market, where units shipped grew by close to 17% in 1Q 2014 compared to 4Q 2013. The consistent growth in the smartphone market is driven by enhanced consumer preference for smart devices and narrowing price differences.
The share of feature phones in the overall market further slipped further to 71% in 1Q 2014 which is a considerable decrease from 90% share in 1Q 2013.
The India smartphone market grew by a whopping 186% year-on-year in 1Q 2014. According to IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (excluding Japan), vendors shipped a total of 17.59 million smartphones in 1Q 2014 compared to 6.14 million units in the same period of 2013. The shipment contribution of “phablets” (which IDC defines as 5.5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones) in 1Q 2014 was noted to be around 5% of the overall market. The category grew by 125% in 1Q 2014 in terms of sheer volume over 4Q 2013. The primary reason behind this trend is the launch of low-end phablets by international and local vendors alike.
The sub-200 USD category in smartphones contributed to about 78% hinting at the fact that the growth in the India Smartphone market still remains constrained towards the low-end of the spectrum.
IDC News Release, 10/29/10
The worldwide mobile phone market grew 14.6% in the third quarter of 2010 (3Q10), the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, driven in part by the fast-growing converged mobile device category. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped 340.5 million units in 3Q10 compared to 297.1 million units in the third quarter of 2009.
The growing popularity of converged mobile devices, or smartphones, with consumers and businesspersons is evidenced by the appearance of a second smartphone-only vendor in the top 5 ranking. Apple moved into the number 4 position worldwide in 3Q10, joining Research In Motion (RIM) as one of the world’s largest mobile phone suppliers. RIM has spent three quarters on IDC’s leaderboard. Apple and RIM also posted the highest-growth rates among the top 5 vendors last quarter.