According to the latest research by International Data Corporation, 6.6 million mobile phones were shipped to Vietnam in the first quarter of 2014, down by 4.9% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) and 0.7% year-on-year (YoY).
Aggressive shipments of low-cost smartphones negatively impacted feature phone shipments, which contracted by 13.6% QoQ. Smartphones accounted for 38.6% of total mobile phone shipments in 2014Q1, a noticeable increase from 21.8% in 2013Q1.
“Low-end and mid-range handsets proved to be a key factor to sparking demand for smartphones,” says Võ Lê Tâm Thanh, Senior Market Analyst, Mobile Devices at IDC Vietnam.
“Specifically for smartphones, those with price points lower than US$150 dominated the shipments in Vietnam while phones in higher priced segments were merely treading water during the first quarter of 2014,” he adds.
Although premium smartphones struggled to take off, Apple enjoyed consecutive quarters of strong growth, largely due to its partnership with FPT, which expanded Apple’s retail presence in Vietnam.
“Apple has proven to be very popular in Vietnam as Vietnamese consumers attach a high sense of prestige towards owning an iPhone. Despite the difficulties consumers face in being able to afford high-end phones in general, Apple continues to push new boundaries and the partnership with FPT has paid off”, says Daniel Pang, Senior Research Manager for Client Devices at IDC ASEAN.
Another notable performer in 2014Q1 was Windows Phone (WP), which recovered firmly following a weak showing towards the end of 2013. WP shipments recorded a growth of 61.3% QoQ and 361% YoY.
“Vietnam stands out as the only country in Asia/Pacific where Nokia shipments are almost on par with Samsung’s”, says Pang. “Vendors who are looking to get on board the WP ecosystem should definitely take a close look at this market.”