Pundits cheered by early sale of iPhone 13 range
Early availability of the iPhone 13 line-up in Thailand will help stimulate demand for 5G-enabled smartphones and add growth to the premium device segment in the country, say industry pundits.
Pre-orders of models from the iPhone 13 range can be made on Oct 1 with sales officially starting on Oct 8 in Thailand, much earlier than last year when the sale of the iPhone 12 in Thailand did not begin until Nov 28.
Apple launched the new iPhone 13 line-up on Tuesday, comprising iPhone 13 mini (5.4-inch display) with a starting price of 25,900 baht, iPhone 13 (6.1-inch) with a starting price of 29,900 baht as well as the more advanced iPhone 13 Pro (6.1-inch) with a starting price of 38,900 baht and iPhone 13 Pro Max (6.7-inch) with a starting price of 42,900 baht.
The California-based firm pointed out the new line-up, powered by a new chip called A15 Bionic, offers a better display, longer battery life, more powerful camera and Cinematic mode that can automatically change focus while taking videos.
"Apple is Apple -- no matter if there is a wow factor [in the new line-up] or not. Users are still waiting to buy the new ones," Narathip Wirunechatapant, chief executive of Jaymart Mobile, the handset distributor arm of SET-listed Jay Mart, told the Bangkok Post.
Normally, 5% of Apple users are early adopters who want to buy the new iPhones on the first day of the sale.
Another 15% are users who want buy upgraded phones and they are likely to purchase within the first two weeks.
"In the first two weeks, iPhone 13 Pro Max is likely to see a shortage of supply, similar to what happened with the similar model last year," he said.
This year, the sale of the latest iPhone range begins on Oct 8, much earlier than previous years when they hit the market around late October or November.
"This will stimulate demand among consumers and the early sale also reflects Thailand is an important market," Mr Narathip said.
The market for premium smartphones costing over 20,000 baht is still dominated by Samsung and Apple. This segment has faced no impact from the economic woes.
Premium handsets are expected to account for a 12-13% share of the smartphone market this year, up from 10% a year before, he said.
The local smartphone market is expected to see single-digit growth this year, driven by marketing campaigns and instalment payment plans.
After the lockdown was lifted, September sales of smartphones are 50% higher than the lockdown period, driven by pent-up demand.
Mr Narathip said early adopters of new iPhones are younger people and those who want to use the devices to make video clips or movies as well as YouTubers or influencers.
Glen Cardoza, senior analyst of research firm Counterpoint, said the iPhone 13 series release will have a positive effect on the consumer base in Thailand, which is seeing growth in 5G subscriptions.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, many Apple and other consumers have been waiting for this launch to upgrade their smartphones, he said.
The launch of iPhone 13 series will help drive sales volume of iPhones in Thailand in the fourth quarter, he said, noting iPhone is already in the top 5 brands in shipment volumes.
Apple made up 14% of 5G smartphone shipments in Thailand in the second quarter, Mr Cardoza said. In the premium segment, Apple has a healthy 21% share.