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Phuket business: Smart phone sales soar in Q1

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PHUKET: Thailand’s rapidly expanding smartphone market recorded nearly 70% growth in the first quarter of this year, according to GfK research group’s retail audit findings, which compare quarter on quarter revenue performances.

Heightened consumer demand has brought about a surge in sales volume of over 80%, reaching 758,000 smartphones sold in the first three months of 2012 (Q1).

Consumers in Thailand bought 3.8 million mobile phones in the opening quarter of this year, of which, only 20% were smartphones. Though feature phones are still largely used by Thais, their popularity has been waning as smartphone sales are on the rise. First quarter results of feature phone volume sales reported a decline of 12% over the same quarter a year ago.

“Feature phones are still dominating Thailand’s mobile phone market in terms of sheer volume, but when it comes to sales revenue, smartphones’ contribution to the overall value of the industry has surpassed feature phones,” said Dr Wichit Purepong, General Manager of GfK Thailand. “Takings for smartphones had already overtaken feature phones in the last quarter of 2011 when they reached 53% of total sales. The latest Q1 report showed that it has escalated further to hit 60%.”

Retail audit findings revealed that the average price of feature phones in the country has been dwindling in the last five consecutive quarters to reach a low of US$52.

In comparison, the average price of smartphones has remained generally consistent, hovering between US$300 and $329 during this same period of time.

Although smartphones in the least expensive range of US$150 – 250 are the most salable, with more than one in two smartphones in the country sold coming from this segment, the models above US$500 have managed to maintain their market share of 18% in the latest quarter, translating to almost 40% in the country’s smartphone sales.

Another trend in Thailand is the increasing penchant toward Android smartphones. As with most other markets in the region, popularity of such phones has been on an upswing. From its market share of 16% in Q1 last year, sales of Android smartphones have skyrocketed to reach 59% in the latest quarter.

“Smartphone penetration level in Thailand is considered low when compared with some of the other markets in the region like Singapore and Malaysia where a larger proportion of the population have already converted from their feature phones,” observed Dr Wichit.

“This presents huge potential for smartphone manufacturers and we can expect the rate of adoption to accelerate when telecom operators in the country fully roll out their 3G services in the very near future. It is predicted that the Thai smartphone market will more than double in value and volume in 2012,” he concluded.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January

Maya Taylor

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Domestic air passenger numbers double those of January | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Vietjet

Passenger numbers on domestic flights within Thailand have doubled within a month, rising from 4,000 in January to over 10,000 this month. Having nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels, domestic travel plummeted once more when Covid-19 resurfaced late last year.

Apirat Chaiwongnoi from the Department of Airports says 15 of Thailand’s 29 airports are now operating domestic flights, with more expected to follow. He believes the aviation sector will continue to recover further in the coming 6 months, bolstered by the national vaccine rollout.

Around 120 domestic flights a day are now operating, which is twice the number that were operating at the lowest point in the crisis. Prior to the resurgence of the virus in December, domestic passenger numbers had recovered to 30,000 – 40,000 a day, around 80% of pre-pandemic numbers.

The DoA says airports must continue to adhere to the Covid-19 hygiene measures put in place by the Health Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15

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Samut Sakhon’s shrimp market to remain closed until February 15 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kom Chad Luek

Samut Sakhon’s Central Shrimp Market, the epicentre of Thailand’s recent wave of Covid-19, will remain closed until February 15. The market can reopen once the overall hygiene situation at the market and surrounding area has improved, according to the province’s disease control committee.

Local officials say the shrimp market needs to remain closed until the market structure and nearby residential facilities are inspected. People who violate the order face up to a year in prison and a fine up to 100,000 baht.

More than 12,000 people in the province have tested positive for Covid-19. The increasing number of infections is a result from the active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Thairath Online

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