42% of mobile handsets sold in Thailand are smartphones

Thai consumers spent over USD 800 million on smartphones | Photo: Miki Yoshihito. Flickr

With over 2.87 million sold in the first four months of 2013 smartphone sales in Thailand gather pace. Fastest growth has been reported in the northeast region of Thailand.

According to latest GfK findings, growth momentum in Thailand started picking up at the beginning of 2012 with consumers in the country spending over USD 800 million on smartphones in the past year.

Although basic feature phones continues to make up the larger proportion of Thai consumers’ handsets purchases, sales volume has dropped by over 11 percent compared to 2012.

According to Wichit Purepong, Managing Director for GfK in Thailand “Consumers demand for handsets has been growing successively every quarter since the second quarter of 2012. This growth has been purely contributed by smartphones, which registered the greatest spike of 24 percent in volume sales in the first quarter of this year over the quarter before.”

Northeast Thailand reported the fastest growth

The fastest growth has been reported in the northeast region of Thailand. Although the northeast region is the largest in term of population and size, it is the least develop and has the lowest average income in Thailand.

GfK findings for the first four months of 2013 revealed that smartphone sales units across the combined 17 provinces in northeast, more than quadrupled (344%) compared to the year before, far exceeding the momentum in the central and western regions which reported only 17 and 11 percent growth.

The availability of more smartphone models which matched the lower purchasing power of the local population is one of the reasons for the strong growth registered in the northeast region. While the average price of a smartphone cost 9000 baht ($300) in the most affluent area of Bangkok and vicinity, it costs around 6900 bath ($230) in the northeast region.

The recent launch of 3G service in Thailand have seen the local mobile operators setting their sights on the northeast, via roadshows often in close co-operation with device makers.

Author: Allan Rasmussen
Managing director at Yozzo. Allan is a MVNA/MVNE/MVNO specialist with hands-on experience from more than 60 projects in both competitive and greenfield markets. His expertise includes business case development, execution, launch and growth strategies. Advisor and consultant to mobile network operators, MVNA, MVNE, MVNO, National Regulatory Authorities, Government Agencies, Broadcast Companies, TMT Industry Associations, Innovation and Investment Banks.
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