The Philippines is The Fastest Growing Smartphone Market in ASEAN, Local Brands Dominate - IDC

Based on data gathered by IDC's Asia-Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker in Q1 2016, the Philippines has officially become the fastest growing smartphone market of all nations in the ASEAN region.

According to the leading and respected research group, the total of 3.5 million smartphone shipments to our country within the said period - resulting to a tremendous 20% year-over-year (YoY) growth - became a product of growing smartphone adoption among Filipinos and stronger support from telco operators.

Mr. Jerome Dominguez, Market Analyst for Mobile Devices of International Data Corporation (IDC) Philippines shares, "While many of the more mature smartphone markets of the world already displayed signs of saturation, the Philippines smartphone market continues to enjoy robust growth owing to a relatively low smartphone penetration rate (30% in 2015), active local brand presence, and healthy consumer spending." (source)

Currently, local brands dominate the smartphone scene in the Philippines as they flood the market with affordable models that already have decent technical specifications, better than what multinational vendors offer for the same amount.

Dominguez notes, "Smartphones priced below Php 3,500 still make up the majority of smartphones shipped to the Philippines. MyPhone’s successful budget my28S model catapulted its lead in the smartphone market in 1Q 2016. However, this is no reason for the homegrown brands to rest on their laurels as Global and Chinese vendors are gradually catching up on the budget segment."

IDC shares that the past few quarters have shown international manufacturers like Samsung and ASUS playing more aggressively in the lower-than-Php 6,000 price segment. Likewise, China-based vendors most notably OPPO and Huawei are also on a steady growth track as they continue to expand channel coverage in the Philippines.

As smartphone shipments to the Philippines are expected to grow by 25% this CY 2016, IDC notes that telco operators should keep an eye out for further network congestion and adjust accordingly.

Mr. Jubert Alberto, Country Head of IDC Philippines, says, "Mobile data explosion is an inevitable consequence of the growing smartphone user base so telcos should carry on with further expansion of their capacity and footprint nationwide. In terms of increasing accessibility, it is also not enough for the telcos to provide subsidies to devices manufacturers; rather, it should also keep in check the price of mobile Internet, which still continues to be among the most expensive in ASEAN."

Both Smart Communications and Globe Telecom have seemingly risen to this challenge by recently joining forces in their Php 70 Billion acquisition of the telco business of San Miguel Corporation, which controls the 700MHz spectrum that can be used to deliver far faster and more affordable mobile data connection to Filipinos.