Counterpoint: Chinese Brands Dominate Southeast Asian Smartphone Market

Smartphone shipments to key Southeast Asian countries (such as Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and Vietnam) were the highest ever in a calendar year, reaching 96 million units and growing 5% YoY, according to a report released by research organization Counterpoint on Friday. Of the major brands available in the market, Xiaomi, realme and Apple shipped their highest ever volumes in these countries.

According to the report, Chinese brands grew rapidly in 2021, occupying 71% of the market share, mainly led by OPPO, Xiaomi, Vivo, realme and Infinix.

Xiaomi came up strong in Q1 and Q2, but it suffered more than others in H2 2021 due to supply constraints. Its smartphone shipments in 2021 increased by 17% year-on-year. Realme’s shipments grew 10% year-over-year in 2021, driven by growth in Thailand and the Philippines.

OPPO’s stronghold over the SEA countries continued in 2021 as demand remained for its Reno series and A series smartphones. Strong promotional offers helped the company retain its leading position. Vivo’s Y series continued to perform well through 2021 as the brand’s strong offline network strategy has helped over time. Marketing campaigns and endorsements have helped in increasing its exposure in these markets. Infinix, which was one of the highest gainers for the year, shows future promise but its volumes are still comparatively low.

As opposed to the 8% 5G smartphone share in Q4 2020, that number jumped to 25% in Q4 2021. As things stand, this percentage is bound to grow much higher in 2022.

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Regarding the brands’ ASPs (Average selling price) and 5G, senior analyst Glen Cardoza said, “In 2020, more than 55% of the shipments in key SEA countries were for smartphones under the $150 price point. In 2021, this bracket held about a 38% share. More consumers are opting for smartphones in the $151-$250 bracket. Besides, 5G was mostly represented by just the top 2-3 brands in 2020. We now see the top five OEMs not only launching 5G models but also actively reducing their ASPs and working with operators to further the adoption of 5G in SEA.”