PHOTO - iPhone 5 public release image
Apple's iPhone was dethroned in Malaysia at the high end during the second quarter of 2012, according to IDC. The analyst firm also expects smartphones to surpass feature phones in Malaysia by 2014.
IDC Asia/Pacific associate market analyst for mobile phones and tablet research Ryan Lai said on 13 September that according to IDC's Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker (August 2012), smartphones are set to represent 35 percent of the total mobile phone shipments in 2012, compared to 30 percent in 2011, and are forecasted to exceed 50 percent by 2014.
Lai said the growth of smartphones in the nation was due to the increasing popularity of Android handsets and decreasing prices of entry-level smartphones.
"In a segment previously dominated by Apple's iPhone, second quarter of 2012, we saw the iOS device dethroned as the king of high-end smartphones [more than RM1,500 (US$492] for the first time since the second quarter of 2010 by Samsung's Galaxy S III," he said. "The feat is even more significant considering that the Galaxy S III only arrived in the later part of the second quarter this year."
"However, Apple is set to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2012 with the release of its new iPhone 5 in Malaysia," added Lai.
HTC also experienced a breakout quarter in the smartphones segment, with its flagship model the One X placing third behind the iPhone, he said, "Overall, the high-end smartphone segment grew 33 percent in quarter two this year, as compared to the same period last year and IDC expects the trend to continue into 2013."
"We are witnessing a change in market dynamics. A growing number of Malaysian consumers now view Android smartphones to be as prestigious as the iPhone," said Lai. "Further growth in this segment will no longer be solely dependent on Apple, but will include Android vendors, mainly Samsung, HTC and Sony."
He added that falling prices of entry-level smartphones are also eroding shipments of feature phones, particularly those priced above RM200 [US$65]. In the first half of 2012, 24 percent of smartphones shipments in Malaysia were priced below RM600 [US$195], up from 14 percent in 2011. "The main value proposition of a midrange feature phone is that you get smartphone-like features in a more affordable package. However, smartphone prices have fallen to such a point where many consumers themselves are asking why they would buy a smartphone-like device when with a little more money, they can get the real deal."
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