Smartphones connect big with Thai buyers

Data shows that the iPhone 13 series had strong fourth-quarter sales in Thailand last year demonstrating that the Kingdom’s consumers are willing to pay premium prices for smartphones. Thailand led Southeast Asia in smartphone sales in 2021.

The Kingdom’s smartphone market expanded by 16.6 percent year-on-year in the last quarter, as buyers purchased 5.5 million units. Overall, smartphone sales hit 20.9 million units for the year, increasing 21 percent, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

In Asia, only China, Japan, India and South Korea had higher smartphone sales than Thailand. Per capita income in Thailand is lower than in some of those countries, so Apple could have expected to fare poorly in the Thai market.

Apple only opened its first official store in the Kingdom a little more than two years ago. The competition for Thai market share, however, was extremely close.

Samsung led the Thai market with 19 percent of all sales, followed by Xiaomi with 17.5 percent and Apple at 16 percent. However, the Android-based Samsung and Xiaomi models sell for significantly lower prices than the new Apple iPhone 13s.

Almost one-third of the year’s growth in the Thai smartphone market took place in the final quarter. New model releases, promotions by manufacturers, and the easing of pandemic restrictions helped power the end-of-year surge in sales. In addition, the availability of 5G models helped drive sales.

Thai consumers’ affinity for smartphones is well known. In 2019, Thais ranked second globally for daily time spent on smartphones and fifth for time spent on the internet, according to We Are Social, a market research company. The company estimated that as much as 94 percent of Thais own smartphones.

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