Thailand's first quarter smartphone shipments rose by 70.9% YoY and by 34.2% QoQ despite a second wave of the COVID pandemic.
Thailand’s smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2021 grew by 70.9% year-on-year (YoY) and by 34.2% quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) to 6.35 million units amid the second wave of the COVID pandemic, according to International Data Corp.’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.
This broke the seasonal trend when the first quarter usually shows a QoQ drop. On top of the strong carry-over demand from Q4 2020 when vendors faced supply shortages, there was also new demand as users looked to buy a new smartphone or upgrade their old smartphones to receive the COVID-19 stimulus package through the “Pao Tung” application. Affordable 5G smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy A52 and OPPO Reno 5-series also gained popularity and helped to accelerate 5G adoption.
“The Thai govt announced multiple COVID-19 stimulus packages recently, and in order to receive the handouts conveniently through e-wallets, Thai citizens upgraded their smartphones or switched to a smartphone despite the economic slowdown. This resulted in strong demand in the low-end smartphone segment,” says Teerit Paowan, Client Devices Market Analyst at IDC Thailand.
Top 5 Smartphone Vendor Highlights
Samsung regained the top spot as it launched various new models, ranging from the more affordable A-series to the new online-exclusive M-series. But the highlight was the early launch of its flagship Galaxy S21-series, targeting Huawei’s flagship phone users.
Xiaomi expanded its channels with more retail chains, adding more than 230 stores to its portfolio. Channel partners also stocked up on inventory as they anticipated price increases in the coming period.
vivo’s shipments mostly continued to be from the Y-series, with the Y12s being a major contributor, while the V-series dropped due to its high shipments in 4Q20.
OPPO’s newly launched A15s, Reno 5-series, and the premium Find X3 Pro received good market responses. However, a shortage continued in various low-end and mid-range models due to logistics issues during the Chinese New Year period.
Apple’s new iPhone 12 series continued to see strong demand, especially the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, which continued to see strong demand in the telco channel.
“Telcos are expected to focus on 5G handsets rather than 4G, especially mid-range 5G smartphones. This could drive 5G smartphone shipments as well as telco channel share,” said Paowan. “Android vendors are expected to bring lower-priced 5G smartphones, which will drive the shift from 4G to 5G at a faster pace.”