Budget-Friendly Smartphones: The Choice of Southeast Asian Users

Budget-Friendly Smartphones: The Choice of Southeast Asian Users
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According to a recent study, the younger generation of smartphone users in the Southeast Asian market now tend to stick to mid-range or affordable mobile phones rather than luxury models. 

Quoting from the South China Morning Post, there are interesting findings from a survey conducted by YouGov, a UK-based research company. More than 75 percent of respondents in the region are known to favor mid-range phones, and it turns out that 37 percent of them fall in love with these phones with a high degree of preference.

In addition, nearly 80 percent of respondents felt that their confidence level increased when using a mid-range phone. This is a significant shift from five years ago, when mid-range phones were seen as a way to balance affordability and features.

The research, funded by Xiaomi-backed smartphone brand Poco, involved 2,500 people aged 18 to 40 in Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The Southeast Asian region has been recognized as a key market for smartphone manufacturers, thanks to the continued growth of its middle class and youthful population.

Poco, a company that has been independent of Xiaomi since 2020, has been focusing on this region in particular with the launch of several mid-range phones, including its latest product, the Poco M3 Pro 5G.

Equipped with 5G technology, dual-SIM capability and battery-saving features, the Poco M3 Pro 5G is priced at around Rp 2,399,000 ($157, £122) in Indonesia.

As of the first quarter of 2023, Samsung currently leads the smartphone market in Southeast Asia with a 27 percent share. It is closely followed by Chinese rivals such as Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Realme, according to a report by Canalys.

However, separate data released by Counterpoint showed that Apple's iPhone sales jumped 18 percent year-on-year in the first quarter. Meanwhile, Samsung, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi saw a decline in device shipments, pointing to intense competition among brands offering flagship models with more affordable options.

According to Sheng Win Chow, an analyst at Canalyst, the growing use of digital payments and financing alternatives in the region has made high-end mobile phones more accessible to the masses.

In fact, smartphone shipments in the region declined by 21 percent on an annualized basis in the quarter, in line with the broader downward trend. However, Chow expects these figures to grow by around 7 percent next year as demand improves in the market.

The future smartphone market in the Southeast Asian region will remain a place of great potential for these device makers. This is fueled by the continued growth of the middle class and young population, a key consumer segment for smartphone makers.

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