In the last 12 months, nearly 14.2 million laptops and tablets were sold across six key markets in Southeast Asia — Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines — according to global research company GfK.
This accounts for the 32 percent growth in volume sales as compared to the previous year (from June 2011 to May 2012). Gerald Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia, attributed the growth to the consumers' eagerness to own the latest tablets and laptops.
Despite the sales surge, the level of growth for the laptop and tablet markets in the region differs. Although laptops contributed to 57 percent of sales volume, the segment growth rate for Southeast Asia stood at four percent. The tablet segment, on the other hand, doubled in volume demand (101 percent) in June 2012 to May 2013 period as compared to the same period in the previous year.
What's happening in the tablet market
Indonesia is the largest tablet market as it accounts for over a third of the total tablet sales volume in the region. From June 2012 to May 2013, the demand for tablets in the country increased by 141 percent.
However, Philippines appears to be the most robust market as the tablet adoption rate there in the last 12 months grew over fourfold, at 322 percent.
Tan suggested that the increased variety of options available in these two countries enabled more consumers there to purchase tablets even if their budgets are low.
For instance, Indonesia carries over 60 tablet brands in its local market, providing its consumers with around 300 models to choose from. The prices of the tablets are also low, selling at an average of US$357. In comparison, the average tablet price in Singapore last year was US$525 since the city-state only has 29 brands to offer.
In terms of laptop sales, Indonesia and Thailand saw an increase of 17 percent and 16 percent respectively while Philippines and Singapore fell into the negative growth range.
"Laptops are definitely facing stiff competition from tablets as they present a possibly more inexpensive and comparable option for consumers seeking a slightly larger portable smart device with stronger capabilities than smartphones," said Tan.
"However, laptops have their own unique functions and are able to perform tasks which tablets may not be able to, so both products have their own unique space in the market."
Tan projected that the laptop and tablet market will be "more vibrant and competitive" in future as manufacturers will continue introducing new and innovative features to vie for the consumer dollar.
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