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Southeast Asia Smartphone Sales Rose 4 Per Cent in 2019 - Study 2020 could see a temporary slowdown though because of the Covid-19 coronavirus situation

By Aparajita Saxena

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

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Smartphone sales in Southeast Asia rose 4 per cent to $23 billion in 2019, a study by market research company GfK found, even as global demand declined.

Consumers across the region's six key markets bought nearly 97 million smartphone units, up 1.2 million from 2018, the study said, showing more and more people either bought a phone for the first time, or upgraded their existing one.

Malaysia's smartphone sales by volume rose 13 per cent, while in Singapore it jumped 11 per cent. Vietnam and Indonesia reported negative growth in the single-digit range.

The biggest driver of smartphone sales in the region was online shopping. A recent GfK report stated that in Indonesia, over 64 per cent people said that their smartphones/tablets were their most important online shopping tool, while more than half said that they preferred using their mobile devices to pay for transactions.

Even payments-based fintechs apps, which eliminate the need for users to carry physical bank cards or even cash, has helped spur the sales of smartphones in the region, as has improved mobile phone internet capabilities with the advent of 5G.

"5G will be a hot topic this year, with Singapore spearheading the launch of this high-speed network in 2020, said Alexander Dehmel, Associate Director at GfK, adding "we can expect to see a lot of buzz around 5G network and also anticipate the market to be heating up with lots of promotions around new 5G smartphone models."

2020 could see some temporary slowdown though because of the Covid-19 coronavirus situation, warns Dehmel. "The impact of the coronavirus on global supply chains and production capacities along with weaker demand is likely to slow but not stop the growth of the category in Southeast Asia."

Aparajita Saxena

Former Deputy Associate Editor, Asia Pacific

Aparajita is Former Deputy Associate Editor for Entrepreneur Asia Pacific. She joined Entrepreneur after nearly five years with Reuters, where she chased the Asian and U.S. finance markets.

At Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, she wrote about trends in the Asia Pacific startup ecosystem. She also loves to look for problems startups face in their day-to-day and tries to present ways to deal with those issues via her stories, with inputs from other startups that may have once been in that boat.

Outside of work, she likes spending her time reading books (fiction/non-fiction/back of a shampoo bottle), chasing her two dogs around the house, exploring new wines, solo-travelling, laughing at memes, and losing online multiplayer battle royale games.


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