Chinese smartphones lead sales in 2020
Thailand's smartphone sales fell 18.1% year-on-year to 16.5 million units in 2020, pressured by the impact of the pandemic, while 5G-enabled devices are expected to drive demand this year, according to tech research firms.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi was the No. 1 vendor in Thailand last year with sales of 2.6 million units, representing 16% of the market share, based on a report by research and advisory firm Gartner.
Oppo, Vivo, Samsung and Apple followed, respectively.
These five vendors accounted for 63% of the local smartphone market last year.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, a total of 4.5 million smartphones were sold in Thailand, a decrease of 17.7% from the same quarter a year before.
For this quarter, another Chinese smartphone maker, Oppo, was the No. 1 vendor with sales of 763,000 units, accounting for 16.8% of the market share. It was followed by Xiaomi with 14.7% of the market share, Vivo with 12%, Apple with 11.3% and Samsung with 8.3%, respectively.
Gartner said global smartphone sales fell 5.4% year-on-year to 384 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020. For the whole year, global smartphone sales plunged 12.5% year-on year to 1.3 billion units.
"The sales of more 5G smartphones and lower-to-mid-tier smartphones minimised the market decline in the fourth quarter of 2020," said Anshul Gupta, senior research director at Gartner.
"Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases, 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter."
In the global market, Apple surpassed Samsung to retake the No. 1 smartphone vendor spot in the fourth quarter. The last time Apple was the top smartphone vendor was in the fourth quarter in 2016.
Samsung experienced a year-on-year decline of 14.6% in 2020, but this did not prevent it from retaining its No. 1 global smartphone vendor position in full year results with an 18.8% share.
Samsung was followed by Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo, respectively.
Teerit Paowan, an analyst at research firm IDC Thailand, said his company estimated local smartphone shipments declined by a mid-single digit to 17 million units in 2020, weighed down by the pandemic affecting user sentiment along with a shortage of chipsets hindering supply.
He said smartphones priced 3,000-5,000 baht were in high demand in 2020 as people want to use them for the "Pao Tang" app to receive the government's cash handout. Vivo was an attractive option among entry-level priced phones.