1Q23: Southeast Asia’s Smartphone Market Falls 21%

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Samsung led the market with a share of 27% and shipped close to 5.6 million units; it was followed by OPPO with a 19% share

As per the latest report from Canalys for Q1 2023, the Southeast Asian smartphone market fell 21% year on year in this quarter to 20.9 million units. The data revealed that the region witnessed a decline in the fifth consecutive quarter as consumers remained financially prudent, curtailing their spending on consumer technology.

The research brought forth the fact that Samsung led the market with a share of 27% and shipped close to 5.6 million units. It was followed by OPPO, which shipped 4.0 million units grabbing 19% of the market share. Xiaomi, vivo and realme took the next three positions respectively.

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Talking about brands, Analyst Chiew Le Xuan said: “Brands eagerly waited for the March-April festivities coupled with new launches, but it failed to spark expected consumer demand. Smartphone vendors calibrated their inventory over the past few quarters, ready to capitalize on the Ramadan festivities in Indonesia and Malaysia, and election spending in Thailand. Even though the traction was lower compared to last year, Apple and Samsung increased channel activity to grow retail traffic and improve brand presence. Other Chinese vendors looked to emulate OPPO’s successful strategy of gradually moving up the price band to enhance their brand image.”

While forecasting a 7% increase in shipments as compared to 2023, Canalys expects Southeast Asia to benefit from the global recovery in 2024.

“2024 is expected to spin a different story,” said Sheng Win Chow while adding that the region has received investments that have prepared it for a demand rebound. “Looking ahead, Southeast Asia continues to be a promising market for smartphone manufacturers, thanks to its expanding middle class and young population, which are key customer segments for smartphone vendors. Furthermore, the rise in digital payment and financing options makes high-end devices more affordable for the masses.”

As per Chiew Le Xuan, smartphone penetration stumbled amid macroeconomic headwinds as cautious consumers from tier-2 cities in the region held back on high-value purchases. Chiew Le Xuan added, “This was felt in large volume, price-sensitive developing countries like Indonesia and the Philippines, which saw their market size shrink by 21% and 17% year on year, respectively. Despite a 13% decline in Thailand shipments, the recent wave of M&A among operators empowered a ramp-up of promotions and 5G bundling, benefitting Apple and Samsung. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s shipments plummeted by 40% year on year. There were significant reductions in inventories of older smartphone models amid a decline in consumer spending as local technology manufacturing slowed due to global economic conditions.”

Analyst Sheng Win Chow commented, “Canalys maintains a conservative outlook for Southeast Asia in 2023, with the region expected to face challenges in demand in the near term due to an unfavourable business environment. Furthermore, lengthening replacement cycles coupled with a slow smartphone adoption rate will further result in ballooning channel inventory and financial challenges.”

Canalys is an independent analyst company which delivers smart market insights to IT, channel and service provider professionals around the world.


 

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