Bangladesh’s Mobile Market Grows 1.7% In Q1

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The slight growth will surge in the second quarter, but will witness a seasonal slowdown in he latter half of the year, says report. 

In the first quarter of 2024, Bangladesh’s total mobile phone market shipped 4 million units, marking a modest 1.7% YoY growth following a robust YoY increase in Q4 of 2023. A report published by the International Data Corporation (IDC)’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker says so. 

According to the report, Bangladesh’s smartphone market shipped 1.8 million units in Q1, marking an 11.6% growth following six consecutive quarters of year-over-year decline. 

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On the other hand, feature phones, constituting 53.9% of shipments, experienced a 5.4% decline. This drop is influenced by consumers prioritising essential expenses due to higher taxes, which reduce their disposable incomes.

The first quarter of the year also saw smartphones’ average selling price (ASP) rise by 3.9% to USD 128, marking a turnaround after six consecutive quarters of decline. 

Smartphone shipments began recovering gradually in Q3 2023, following a significant 39.4% YoY decline in 1H23, which was attributed to heavy taxation on mobile phones and components due to the IMF bailout.

According to the report, Transsion maintained its market lead for the seventh consecutive quarter, driven by the growth of its Tecno brand, which accounted for 44% of its total shipments. The success was bolstered by the popularity of affordable models like the Spark Go 2024, the highest-selling model. 

Xiaomi saw significant triple-digit YoY growth after reopening its plant in April 2023, fueled by demand for models such as the Redmi 12, Redmi 13C, and Redmi Note 13 series.

 In the Feature Phone segment, Nokia (HMD) entered the market in Q1 and swiftly achieved triple-digit growth. The brand discontinued previous models and introduced new ones like the 105 SS 2023 and 150 2023.

Furthermore, the IDC highlighted the sub-USD 100 segment, which contracted by 6% year-over-year and dropped to a 33% market share from 39% a year ago. This segment was led by Transsion’s Itel and Tecno brands alongside Symphony. 

Conversely, shipments in the USD 100 to USD 200 category grew by 18% YoY, expanding Xiaomi’s market share to 59% from 56%. This growth was driven by Xiaomi, Transsion, and Realme, which captured 58% of this segment. 

The entry-premium segment (USD 200 to USD 400) increased its share to 6%, up from 4%, with a robust 63% YoY growth. Xiaomi, Transsion, and OPPO dominated this segment, accounting for nearly 78%. 

Meanwhile, the mid-premium sector (USD 400 to USD 600) constituted 1.4% of the market, primarily led by Vivo, which had a significant 95% share.

IDC reported 5G smartphones were just 3.4% of total shipments due to infrastructure challenges. Bangladesh issued a unified 5G license through BTRC to significant telecom firms, promoting shared infrastructure and data standards. The Agency to Innovate (a2i) Bill, enacted in July 2023, elevated a2i to drive 5G development for ICT and IoT infrastructure.

Despite these efforts, growth in 5G smartphone shipments is expected to be slow in the coming quarters due to the superior specifications and lower costs of 4G smartphones.

Anjney Bhardwaj, Senior Market Analyst for Mobile Phones at IDC India, expects double-digit YoY growth in smartphone shipments in Q2, driven by Ramadan and Eid festivities, financing options and promotional discounts due to the festive season.

 However, growth is forecasted to slow in the second half of 2024, leading to low single-digit growth for the year.

Seeing the market trends, Anjney also noted that offline channels maintain dominance, with eTailers holding less than 1% market share. The consumer preference for hands-on experience, diverse product availability, and retail store discounts, especially from major chains like Salextra and Gadget & Gear, pose significant challenges for eTailer platforms such as Pickaboo and Daraz. 

Despite this, the online channel experienced 74% year-over-year growth in Q1, primarily driven by Daraz’s expansion of its vendor portfolio after five consecutive quarters of decline.

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