THE Philippines is the fastest-growing market for smartphones in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), according to a new report from market research company International Data Corporation (IDC).
The report indicated that about 3.5 million smartphones were shipped to the country during the first quarter of 2016.
Local vendors comprise more than half of the smartphone market, like popular local retailer MyPhone, which lead the local vendors’ sector. However, the local sector’s share of the market dropped 4 percent in 2015 while sales from global vendors have increased by 4 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the IDC report.
Affordable, low-end smartphones are a significant factor because it opened up the market to Filipinos who otherwise would not have access to smartphones, according to Mobile World Live. Budget phones that are priced at PHP3,500 ($75) are becoming more popular among Filipinos.
Popular smartphone retailers like Samsung and Asus have also been tackling the sub-PHP6,000 ($129) sector, IDC Philippine market analyst Jerome Dominguez said in an interview with Rappler.
In the last three years, overall smartphone usage among Filipinos in the Philippines more than doubled according to a report from statistics portal Statista. Currently, about 30 percent of all Filipinos are smartphone users and that is projected to increase.
Dominguez said that this upsurge in smartphone demand will further innovate the smartphone market in the Philippines.
“As the Philippines smartphone market matures and shifts from being an acquisition game to a replacement one, consumers are expected to demand more from a smartphone in terms of specs and performance,” said Dominguez.
While the Philippines may be enjoying a more smartphone-savvy market, the IDC said that network connectivity problems may ensue due to the increasing smartphone-using populace. Moreover, consumer demand for smartphones with higher memory capacity will increase; the IDC report found that smartphones with less than one GB of random access memory (RAM) dropped from 44 percent to 38 percent.
Because mobile Internet is still “among the most expensive” in Southeast Asia, telecommunications companies should work on innovating and expanding their capabilities to serve budding smartphone markets, according to IDC Philippines Country Head Jubert Albert in an interview with Rappler.