Fifty percent predicted to be ‘smarter’ this year

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Fifty percent predicted to be ‘smarter’ this year

They currently stand at 35 percent of the market, but analysts are predicting sales of so-called smartphones will account for a whopping 50 percent of the market in Thailand this year.

As prices come down due to rugged competition, Khun Sunthat Laicharoen from the Thailand division of the global research company GfK Retail and Technology, suggests smartphone sales in the country will grow by about 110 percent in 2013.

This equates to around 7.5 million smartphone units being sold out of a market of 16 million devices expected to be sold this year. In 2012, smartphone sales grew by a massive 115 percent.

Last year smartphones accounted for 35 percent of the total phone market. Khun Sunthat said GfK believed smartphones could snare a phenomenal 70 percent of the total phone market in the next three to four years.

Naturally enough, price is the biggest driver of numbers. In 2012 the price of a smartphone dropped by up to 15 percent and GfK analysts are confident they will drop by a further 20 percent this year.

In monetary terms this would mean the average price of an entry-level smartphone would drop to about 3,000 baht from its current 3,500 baht tag. While an ‘ordinary’ entry-level mobile phone could cost as little as 700 baht by the end of 2013, large numbers of consumers are going to ‘want’ a smartphone.

Even a mid-range smartphone is priced competitively, in a broad range from 5,000 to 10,000 baht. Khun Sunthat is quoted as saying it is this segment of the market where GfK expects very strong growth numbers, due to tough competition.

Intriguingly, GfK analysts suggest this year will see overall mobile phone growth halve from 2012 numbers. Last year the market grew 10 percent but this year the expectation is that total sales will amount to about 15 million units, thereby representing just a five percent growth year-on-year.

As far as the manufacturer numbers are concerned, Google’s Android dominated with a 70 percent share of the 2012 smartphone market. GfK consider this practical stranglehold will continue through 2013 with the Android expected to account for a 68 percent share.

Apple might be one of the biggest company’s in the world, but its iOS smartphone market share is actually expected to drop to just 18 percent of the total market, down from its 20 percent share in 2012.

In the medium to top-end range of the smartphone market, Khun Sunthat expected both Blackberry and Nokia to track strongly once again although their overall market share will be in the single digits in percentage terms.