Consumers across six key markets in the Southeast Asian region, which includes the Philippines, snapped up 97 million smartphone units worth an estimated $23 billion in 2019.
Research analyst GfK said this represented a growth of 4% in sales value compared to 2018 and that Southeast Asia’s smartphone sales volume continued to rise slightly by 1% in 2019 amid the 2% decline in global demand.
According to GfK, Malaysia and Singapore grew at the same rate for both smartphone sales value and volume at 13% and 11% respectively.
Thailand recorded a significantly higher value over volume growth at 13% versus 6%, while the Philippines’ growth stood at 5% in value and 3% in volume.
Only Vietnam and Indonesia reported negative growth in the single-digit range.
“Over the years, consumers in the region have always been showing keen interest when it comes to mobile handsets, with many owning more than one set or changing their smartphone frequently,” Alexander Dehmel, associate director at GfK.
“It should be highlighted that the higher value over volume growth recorded in the Southeast Asian smartphone market indicates that consumers are upgrading their devices — a trend that has been observed in recent years,” Dehmel said.
GfK noted that Southeast Asian consumers’ fixation with smartphones also stems from the fact that in many markets, the device is used for online shopping.
The research firm said that in Southeast Asia’s biggest market – Indonesia — 64% of respondents agreed that their smartphone/tablet is their most important online shopping tool.
In addition, 58% said they prefer to use their mobile device to pay for transactions — affirmation that smartphones are increasingly playing a more dominant role in consumers’ daily life.