According to research firm IDC, the Philippines smartphone market grew annually by 26.8%, bringing in 4.2-million unit shipments in the first quarter of 2021.
This was despite a 35.3% decline compared to the previous quarter’s large shipments by vendors that took advantage of the high shopping traffic during holiday season in the country. The first quarter of 2021 was the most relaxed period since the pandemic began, especially January and February before lockdowns were reimposed in March.
“Despite the economy contracting in 2021Q1, the smartphone market continued to thrive, indicating a growth in demand for devices during the pandemic,” said Angela Jenny Medez, client devices market analyst at IDC Philippines.
“Lockdown restrictions softened across the country for most of the first quarter and vaccinations started rolling out in March. This allowed more people to return to work and businesses to resume, therefore driving consumer spending and confidence.”
Top 5 smartphone vendor highlights
Realme reclaimed the top spot, accounting for 21.3% of the total market. The brand more than doubled its shipments compared to last year, opening several new stores in the first quarter of 2021, further expanding its channel reach in areas outside of Manila.
Oppo dropped to the second spot after declining by 44.7% QoQ but it more than doubled its shipments YoY as it brought in more units in the low-end ($100<$200), where the A15/A15s shipped in high volume, and in the mid-range ($200<$400) with the Reno 5 series.
Samsung advanced to the third spot as it launched multiple models at different price points with the A-series still driving shipments. 5G phones brought in by them more than quadrupled in shipments compared to the previous quarter.
Transsion took the fourth spot by increasing its focus in the ultra low-end (<$100) segment and continuing its offline store expansion of all three brands (Infinix, iTel, and Tecno) outside of Metro Manila.
Xiaomi grew by almost three times its size from last year, securing the fifth spot and overtaking giant vendors vivo and Huawei by leveraging its online channel presence, launching its online Mi Store, and continuing with retail expansion. Its sub-brand, Poco, continued to gain traction, rising to 15% of Xiaomi’s shipment within a year.
“With the cases rising from the middle of March, vendors started to prepare for the second lockdown by ensuring that they have the right channel set up and by being ready to fulfill orders to reach consumers,” said Medez.
“Although the smartphone market has proven to be resilient during the pandemic as people became more reliant on devices to keep them connected, we are anticipating 2021Q2/Q3 to slow down due to the rising Covid-19 cases and reimposed lockdowns, prompting vendors to extend their roadmaps,” she added.