Shipments of smartphones have bounced back in the Philippines, the International Data Corporation (IDC) Philippines reported yesterday, October 1.

IDC cited the reason for the rebound to Filipinos’ turning to investing in higher price brands.

IDC Logo from IDC

Cherry Mobile and Samsung at 1 and 2 places

While Cherry Mobile has maintained its No. 1 spot in the Top 5 Vendors of 1H18 (first half of 2018) in the country, a shakeup in the four other rankings affected Vivo and OPPO, while Huawei replaced Asus, which occupied the fifth spot in the 2017 ranking.

Samsung remained at second spot, but Vivo replaced OPPO in the third spot, relegating the latter in the fourth placement.

The figures are gleaned from IDC Philippines’ ASEAN Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which showed that smartphone shipments climbed to 7.8 million units in 1H18 (first half of 2018), registering a 5.6 percent growth year over year (YoY).

ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comprised of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The rise in shipments of smartphone pushed the market to bounce back from the decline of -6.6 percent it suffered in 1H17.

Growth of smartphone market

IDC Philippines noted in its report that the smartphone market displayed growth as against last year owing to the increase of shipments of mid-range smartphones.

Known as “the premier global market intelligence firm based in Massachusetts, United States, IDC said that even though the ultra-low smartphones are still lording it over in market share, the average selling price (ASP) of a smartphone rose to US$192 in 1H18 as against US$127 previously in 1H17.

“The higher the ASP indicates that end users are willing to invest in a phone with better specifications and features to suit their latest needs. Use of phones have become heavier, aside from end users being accustomed to using smartphones as a platform for capturing, sharing, saving content, and streaming videos, engaging in higher form of mobile gaming has also been emerging,” one of IDC Philippines’ market analyst, Polyne Gallevo, noted.

Readily available credit facilities

At the same time, the availability of payment options has continued to make buying higher priced smartphones less taxing for end users, noting the presence of financing firms such as Home Credit and Flexi Finance, as well as in-store retail credit that allows customers who do not own credit cards to get installment plans to make payments lighter on the pocket.

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IDC Philippines cited what customers are looking for nowadays which smartphone makers are taking advantage of.

“Keeping in mind that Filipinos remain to be price conscious and want to ensure they get the best value for their money, brands now highlight not only quality of cameras but also features that make smartphone usage experience better such as near bezel-less screens, and long battery life to (assure) the customers that the brand is the bang for the buck,” Gallevo added.

The report noted that while Filipino brand Cherry Mobile stayed at the top in the smartphone market in terms of unit market share, it nevertheless suffered a slight decline owing to price competition with international brands and their strong marketing.

Samsung stayed in second place at it sustains its approach of being present in most price points with the J and A series for low-end to mid-range and its flagship phones S and Note series for the premium, combined with celebrity endorsements.

Rise of celebrity endorsers

Yes, celebrity endorsements is catching up like fire almost with the smartphone brands as they reap the fruits of their endorsers’ popularity in the country.

Vivo grabbed third place in a year with its aggressive marketing efforts and tapping the drawing power of local celebrity endorsers for launch of V9.

The Chinese brand’s shipments for its Y series grew with the launch of Y71 and Y85 even as it launched X21 as the first in-display fingerprint smartphone and FIFA’s official smartphone.

Vivo raised its aggressiveness, resulting in OPPO’s sliding down to fourth place. On the other hand, the latter has maintained is presence through ads in malls and promodisers.

OPPO unveiled F7, A71, and F7 Youth as it also harnessed local celebrity endorsers with known high reach among the country’s millennials.

Huawei makes move

Meanwhile, Huawei registered significant growth as it increased its marketing activities with noticeable in-store display in retail, online ads, and celebrity endorsements.

Recall that Cherry Mobile became the Philippines’ top-selling smartphone brand in 2017 as it accounted for 23 percent of the 15 million units sold in the country, IDC said last year.

The Filipino smartphone maker led Samsung was second with a 17 percent market share; OPPO of China took the third spot, 12 percent; Vivo at 8 percent; and Asus fifth with 5 percent.

“Others” shared among themselves the remaining 35 percent.

How Cherry Mobile did it was attributed to its pricing at less than US$100 for their smartphone, a boon to price-conscious consumers. (EKU)