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Southeast Asia smartphone shipments flat in 2017, says IDC
Source: DIGITIMES   Editor: Helan   Update Time :2018/3/5 16:50:50

Total smartphone shipments in the emerging Southeast Asia (SEA) region recorded approximately 100 million units in 2017, declining by less than 1% on year, according IDC, which categorizes Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam as the emerging markets in SEA.

Myanmar and the Philippines were the only countries to record a decline, where some of the vendors' shipments have reduced significantly - pulling down the total shipments in SEA. Several local and smaller players were losing out competitively as the top-4 players continued to fortify their positions with their mix of low-end (US$100-US$200) and mid-range (US$200-US$400) handsets.

"Apart from the growing popularity of the top-4 players that have been able to hold up shipment volumes, majority of end-users are in no rush to acquire a new handset if they have been using mid-range ones as the handsets are of decent quality and priced considerably high for this budget conscious region, resulting in longer lifecycles and replacement rates," said Jensen Ooi, senior market analyst, Client Devices, IDC ASEAN.

Mid-range smartphone shipments grew 53% on year, driven by the top-5 players. While low-end devices still make up most of the market with 37% share, mid-range handsets now make up 27% (27.1 million units) of the total market versus 2016 when it was 17% (17.6 million units). Samsung takes the top spot in the mid-range segment with its affordable Galaxy J series. Oppo and Vivo continued to expand their brand presence with the usual celebrity endorsements and loud marketing activities, pushing their F and V series respectively. Huawei joined the competition with its Nova series and employed almost similar tactics as Oppo and Vivo. Meanwhile, Apple's presence in the mid-range segment was represented by its older models, mainly the iPhone 5, iPhone SE and iPhone 6.

4G smartphones grew 44% on year while demand for 4G feature phones remains low. A long time coming, 4G smartphones finally became a norm in 2017. 4G smartphones now make up 81% (81.1 million units) of the total market versus 2016 when it was 56% (56.2 million units). 3G smartphones were shipped by local vendors and some global players still, targeting the price conscious segments. Meanwhile, the adoption of 4G feature phones has been slow and recorded only close to a quarter of a million units. They are mainly available in tier-1 cities where the 4G network is more reliable while lower tier cities continue to opt for 2G feature phones. These 4G feature phones have been available in Thailand since 2016 while Indonesia and Philippines introduced it only towards late 2017.

Phablet (5.5- to 7-inch) shipments grew 71% on year, signaling a change of preference for larger screen sizes. Phablet shipments made up 35% (35 million units) of total shipments in 2017 versus 2016 when it was only 20% (20.5 million units). However, smartphones with screen sizes of 5- to 5.5-inch still hold the larger share of 50% (50.5 million units). The growth of phablet shipments was spurred by the ongoing change in media consumption habits and vendors introducing thin bezel smartphones to the market. Samsung recorded the largest shipments while Vivo recorded the highest growth in this category.

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