However, shipments of smartphones lying in the <$200 price band fell 24% in key Southeast Asian markets
As per the latest reports, shipments of the premium smartphone (priced over $400) in the key Southeast Asian markets (Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam) increased 29% YoY in Q3 2022. But the total smartphone shipments declined 10% YoY during this quarter, owing much to the sharp reduction (24%) in the shipments of smartphones lying in the <$200 price band.
According to Counterpoint Research’s Southeast Asia Monthly Smartphone Channel Share Tracker: Southeast Asia is still facing macroeconomic headwinds. This has resulted in weak business and consumer sentiments. Investments have slowed down too, including FDI volumes for some countries. All this has led to key smartphone OEMs collecting more than the required inventory before Q4 2022. The massive YoY increase in premium smartphone shipments reflects the resilience of this segment’s customers during difficult times.
It is noteworthy that in Q3, Apple’s shipments grew by 63% YoY across the aforementioned countries. However, Samsung shipments fell 13% YoY.
The report pointed out that 5G smartphone demand has seen slow progress in some countries like Indonesia and Vietnam while it is much faster in Thailand and the Philippines, where the network is better and a large number of consumers are quite tech-savvy. Notably, the $200-$400 5G smartphone price band witnessed a 73% YoY growth, implying that 5G is being made a staple feature by most OEMs.
Senior Analyst at Counterpoint, Glen Cardoza commented, “Most Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines raised interest rates in Q3 2022 to ease the blow of rising prices on the common consumer. Inflation during the quarter was an average of 5% in most SEA countries, which is not alarming but did take its toll on consumers. Prices for fuel, overall logistics and staple items went up, causing consumers to hold on to their wallets and defer big expenses like smartphones. The majority of such consumers are blue-collar workers or from economically weaker sections. While a country like Thailand is struggling to regain pre-COVID volumes due to depleted tourism levels, Vietnam has shown a 13% GDP growth in Q3.” He concluded that the effect of the same was reflected in the smartphone shipments in the previous few months.
OEMs still have a spare inventory of older models which, the report suggested, they might try to sell using all possible marketing tools across offline and online channels. The report further estimates that offline retail players will propagate experiential outlets, increased payment convenience, trade-in offers and better after-sales support. “Models like Samsung’s Galaxy A04s and Vivo’s Y02s might lead the charge in increasing low-range smartphone shipments again. This is necessary for the market to portray normalcy,” said the report.