More Filipino consumers chose smartphones over less function-rich feature phones in the nine months through September, a trend seen across Southeast Asia that is causing sales for the category to boom, results of a survey conducted by GfK showed Monday.
Philippine smartphone sales during the period hit $1.24 billion, up 39 percent, compared to the same period last year, based on GfK’s survey of seven countries in the region.
This translated to 5.1 million smartphone units in the Philippines, or an increase of 42 percent.
The increase comes as total handset sales volume in the Philippines dipped from January to September by 2 percent, dragged down by feature phones, whose volumes sank by 25 percent during the period.
The dominant operating system in the Philippines was Android, which accounted for 91 percent of total smartphone sales in the country.
The trend was seen across six other markets in the region, but the Philippines topped the list in terms of Android usage, followed by 83 percent in Malaysia and 81 percent in Singapore.
“The increasing affordability of smartphones, particularly in the developing markets, is helping many consumers in these countries make the switch from their basic feature phones to own their very first smartphone,” Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia, said in a statement.
“It is worth highlighting the significant milestone of September being the month whereby sales penetration reached the halfway mark; where one in every two mobile handsets purchased in the region is now a smartphone,” he added.
Another smartphone feature that is rising in prevalence is larger screen sizes.
For instance, smartphones at least 4 inches in size, which accounted for 13 percent of total sales last year, have more than doubled their share.
In the first nine months of this year, one in four smartphones sold has a screen size of at least 4 inches.
“The latest trend in the market now is phablets, which is defined as mobile devices with cellular voice phone functionality and a display between 5.6 inches and 6.99 inches,” said Tan.
“Launched only recently around mid-2013, over 460,000 have already been sold and we will likely see greater take-up as more models enter market,” he added.