Smartphone users in key Southeast Asia market overwhelmingly prefer mid-range and budget models, study finds, as manufacturers look beyond downturn
Young smartphone users in the expanding Southeast Asia market have an overwhelming preference for mid-range or budget handsets over high-end models, according to a new study.
The survey from UK-based YouGov found that more than three-quarters of respondents in the region preferred “mid-range” phones, including 37 percent who “strongly” preferred such devices.
Almost eight out of 10 said they were more confident in mid-range handsets compared with five years ago as they strike a balance between affordability and features.
The survey, sponsored by Xiaomi-backed smartphone brand Poco, covered 2,500 users aged 18 to 40 in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Southeast Asia is seen as a key market for smartphone makers as it features an expanding middle class and a young population.
Poco, whicih was spun off from Beijing-based Xiaomi in 2020, is one of the firms targeting the region with mid-range phones, including its recently released Poco M3 Pro 5G.
The device, featuring 5G, a dual-SIM slot and battery conservation features, sells in Indonesia for only 2,399,000 rupiah ($157, £122).
Samsung currently leads the Southeast Asia smartphone market, with a 27 percent share in the first quarter of 2023, followed by Chinese firms Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Realme, according to Canalys.
But separate figures from Counterpoint found Apple’s iPhone sales rose 18 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, while Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi all saw shipments drop, an indication of the competition that budget brands face from higher-end models.
“The rise in digital payments and financing options in the region makes high-end devices more affordable for the masses,” said Canalyst analyst Sheng Win Chow.
“Looking ahead, Southeast Asia continues to be a promising market for smartphone manufacturers, thanks to its expanding middle class and young population, which are key customer segments for smartphone vendors,” Chow said.