Thailand, Philippines see smartphone decline

Thailand, Philippines see smartphone volume decline

Smartphone shipments in Thailand and the Philippines continue to slide as South East Asian economies continue to grapple with macroeconomic pressure.

Analyst company IDC revealed the Thai smartphone market plunged 25.7% year-on-year in Q1 2023, only shipping 3.45 million units. High levels of inflation and economic pressures on disposable income were blamed.

Smartphones in the entry-level segment (under US$200) saw “steep declines” and now account for 51% of total shipments, down from 60% in Q4 (59% in Q1 2022).

The average selling price increased 26% to US$403 due to strong growth in the premium segment (above US$800), which now accounts for 19% of the market, up year-on-year from 11%.

The share of 5G smartphones increased year-on-year from 33% to 45% driven by the boost in demand for premium smartphones.

Samsung was the largest shipper with 23.8% of the market equating to 822.7 million units but this was a decline of 35.7% for the Korean manufacturer. Oppo was a close second with 22.3% and 769.8 million units a decline of 9.7%.

Apple saw the largest rate of growth in Thailand with 19.4% of the market, 668.4 million units, an increase of 34.9%. Xiaomi’s shipments grew marginally from 433.1 million units to 438.7 million units, leaving it 12.7% of the market.

Taking up fifth place was Chinese vendor Realme with 14.2% market share equating to 7.7%, a drop off of 12.5%.

IDC Thailand market analyst Apirat Ratanavichit: “The Thai smartphone market is expected to continue to decline in 2023. However, as the market is increasingly maturing, volume will be largely driven by the premium segment. There are some signs of economic recovery, and consumer confidence is increasing due to a pickup in tourist arrivals which should translate into increasing consumer spending in the smartphone market; however, political uncertainty still looms overhead.”


As for the Philippines, shipments declined 11% year-on-year to 3.5 million units in the same quarter.

Chinese vendor Transsion, which owns the Tecno and itel sub-brands, ended Realme’s hold on the top spot by taking 19.5% market share, whereas Realme held 18.7%. In third was Oppo (15.5%), Vivo fourth (13.1%) and finally Xiaomi (11.9%).

“The last time shipments hit below 3.5 million records was back in 1Q20 when the pandemic just started and the first lockdown was implemented,” said IDC Philippines client devices senior market analyst Angela Medez.

“Though it seems that the market has finally bottomed out and is on its road to recovery with inflation finally slowing down, IDC anticipates shipments to remain flat in 2023 as vendors will remain cautious with inflation still above comfortable levels.”

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