Thailand’s smartphone market to grow 3% in 2024, says report

Picture courtesy of Somchai Poomlard

A 3% growth in Thailand’s smartphone market is anticipated in 2024, fuelled by the need for upgrades and enhanced technology features, says an international research firm. This follows a 2% rise in 2024, when Thailand was the only Southeast Asian nation to experience marginal growth, due to the strong performance of budget smartphones, as per Counterpoint Research’s Southeast Asia Monthly Smartphone Tracker report.

Febriman Abdillah, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, explained that the 2024 growth in smartphone shipments could be 3% year-on-year, spurred by the increased demand for smartphone upgrades with 5G and cutting-edge technologies. This is also influenced by the Thai government’s commitment to fast-tracking digital transformation, which will necessitate more reliable phones due to increasingly digital lifestyles.

The research firm predicts sustained growth in the lower price segment as the specifications of smartphones within this segment improve, such as larger storage and battery capacity. Consumers might upgrade their smartphones to stay abreast of the latest technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), new camera systems, and novel designs.

With the ongoing expansion of the 5G network and the telecom regulator’s initiative to roll out another new spectrum, demand for high data speed in Thailand is increasing. Mobile operators are encouraging customers to switch to 5G as more affordable 5G smartphones become available.

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Thailand’s economy is forecasted to grow robustly in 2024, despite a lower GDP projection than in 2023. This growth is expected to result from elevated domestic consumption, private investment, increasing foreign tourist arrivals, and expanding exports. The government also has plans to stimulate the digital economy and spur consumption through digital wallets and tax incentives.

Yet, potential global and regional economic challenges could impact inflation due to Thailand’s dependence on energy imports. Glen Cardoza, another senior analyst at Counterpoint, noted that Thailand’s smartphone market grew by 2% year-on-year in 2023 due to improved consumer sentiment towards year-end. The budget smartphone segment, priced below US$200, saw a 17% year-on-year growth in 2023, while all other price ranges saw a decline.

Smartphone market

Cardoza explained that the budget segment’s noticeable improvement in the Thai market and the overall bleak economic situation were driving factors. Political uncertainty and a consistently subdued economy discouraged big spending. However, as the labour market began to show signs of recovery and average wages increased, demand for smartphones grew, particularly among price-conscious consumers.

While Samsung led the smartphone market with a 21% share, its shipments decreased by 4% year-on-year in 2023 due to its focus on mid to high-end smartphones. Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme saw single-digit growth due to their focus on the promising budget segment priced below US$200. However, Apple’s volume grew the most, rising 26% year-on-year, despite belonging to the premium category, reported Bangkok Post.

Cardoza added that as the economy further improves, consumers across price tiers will look to upgrade, and 5G smartphone shipments will increase further. The below-US$200 segment will be crucial as these smartphones will outsell any other segment.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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