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Pandemic batters smartphone market

Shipments of smartphones into the Thailand market declined sharply in the first three months of 2020, falling by 29.8 per cent compared to the previous quarter and 20.6 per cent year on year. In total, shipments reached 3.6 million units in the first quarter.

US-based market-intelligence firm IDC reported that shipments usually decline in the first three months of the year due to seasonality. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has further disrupted the market, resulting in a further decline.

Several brands were affected by a supply shortage caused by the pandemic in February, followed by poor retail activity in March as the situation worsened, with the government’s declaration of a lockdown in the same month.

IDC said vendors and operators were able to adapt quickly to the interruption in physical retail activities and continued with their sales and marketing through official websites and social-media platforms. But despite an increase in online transactions, they were still unable to make up for the fall affecting physical retail outlets.

IDC expects smartphone-unit shipments into Thailand to show a further decline in the second quarter of this year, as retail activities begin to resume. But growth will not be seen again until the third quarter, because the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will prompt ongoing caution among consumers until the situation improves.

Thailand’s top-5 brands:

  • OPPO came in as market leader with its popular A-series. It continued to focus on after-sales service, promotion of features from its high-end smartphone models and expansion of its IoT product lineups.
  • Samsung continued to be one of the top players in the country with its affordable Galaxy A series. Due to the impact of the pandemic, it recorded lower shipments in the first quarter.
  • Vivo increased its marketing efforts and supported its channel partners. It also focused on its affordable Y series, with models well suited to the price-conscious Thailand market.
  • Huawei continued to sell older, affordable models that still had Google Mobile Services (GMS). During the lockdown, it promoted its retail partners on its social-media platforms with partnered promotions.
  • Apple had supplies of some of its models impacted by the pandemic, but was still able to make sales due to its strong brand equity in the Thai market.



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