Smartphone sales growth may be shrinking worldwide but Southeast Asia is bucking this trend, with regional sales growing 9% to nearly 40 million units for the first half of the year, GfK estimates.
Figures from the research firm's point of sales tracking service show that demand surged by 3.2 million smartphones compared to the first quarter of last year.
The total Southeast Asian smartphone market grew to generate over $8 billion in sales for the six-month period.
Smartphone sales increased year-on-year in every key market but Singapore and Malaysia. The largest smartphone markets in the region was Indonesia, where sales volumes soared to 14.9 million, followed by Thailand (6.6 million) and Vietnam (6 million).
Vietnam was also the fastest-growing market, with demand climbing 27%, well ahead of second-placed Thailand (13%) and third-placed the Philippines (10%).
GfK meanwhile commenced sales tracking in Myanmar for the first time at the beginning of the year, discovering that nearly 3 million mobile phones were sold in the country during the first half, of which nearly 89% were smartphones.
“The availability of a wide range of lower price option nowadays have made it possible and much more affordable for price sensitive consumers in these developing markets to switch over and own their first smartphone,” GfK account director for technology Gerald Tan said.
“For instance, while only 15% of smartphone sold in the first half of 2013 cost $100 or less, GfK reports revealed that this segment now occupies 35% of the total market two years on, with Indonesia being the country with the most number of entry level smartphone brands and consumers in this region.”
Gartner recently estimated that global smartphone sales growth has fallen to a two-year low, due in part to the key market of China reaching saturation point.