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IDC: Philippine smartphone market shows growth in first half of 2018 as users invest in higher-priced brands

According to the IDC (International Data Corp.) Philippines’ Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone shipments reached 7.8 million units in the first half of 2018, posting a 5.6 percent growth year over year (YoY) and allowing the market to bounce back from the -6.6 percent decline experienced in the first half of 2017.

The smartphone market showed growth compared with last year because of the increase in shipments of midrange smartphones. Although the ultra-low-end smartphones still have the biggest market share, the average selling price (ASP) of a smartphone grew to $192 in the first half of 2018 compared with the $127 before in the first half of 2017.

“The higher ASP indicates that end users are willing to invest in a phone with better specifications and features to suit their latest needs,” said Polyne Gallevo, market analyst, IDC Philippines. “Use of phones have become heavier, aside from end users being accustomed to using smartphones as a platform for capturing, sharing, saving content, and streaming videos, engaging in a higher form of mobile gaming has also been emerging.”

The availability of payment options has continued to make purchasing higher-priced smartphones less taxing for end users. Financing companies such as Home Credit and Flexi Finance, and in-store retail credit allow customers who do not own credit cards to get installment plans to make payments lighter.

“Keeping in mind that Filipinos remain to be price conscious and want to ensure they get the best value of their money, brands now highlight not only the quality of cameras but also features that make smartphone usage experience better such as near bezel-less screens, high-speed processors, quality speakers, AI features, and long battery life to ensure the customers that the brand is the bang for their buck,” Gallevo said.

Top 5 vendors of the first half

Cherry Mobile continues to lead the smartphone market in terms of unit market share but experienced a slight decline as it faces price competition with international brands and their strong marketing.

Samsung remains at the second spot as it continues its approach of being present in most price points with the J and A series for low-end to midrange and its flagship phones S and Note series for the premium, combined with celebrity endorsements.

Vivo climbed up a notch to third place in a year with its aggressive marketing efforts and tapping of popular local celebrity endorsers in launching V9. Shipments for their Y series increased with the launch of Y71 and Y85. X21 was also launched as the first in-display fingerprint smartphone and the official smartphone of FIFA.

OPPO slips into fourth place as Vivo becomes more aggressive. The vendor maintains its presence through mall ads and promodisers. It launched OPPO F7, A71, and F7 Youth. OPPO also tapped local celebrity endorsers who have a high reach among the millennials and masses.

Huawei shows significant growth. The vendor increased its marketing activities with noticeable in-store display in retail, online ads, and celebrity endorsements.