Myanmar Smartphone Shipments Up to 26% YoY, According to IDC
SINGAPORE, December 22, 2016 – According to the latest International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, a total of 2.5 million smartphones were shipped to Myanmar in 2016Q3, reflecting a 26% (year-on-year) YoY growth. This has been the strongest YoY growth seen in Myanmar’s budding smartphone market since 2015Q3. Sequentially, shipments declined 10% from 2.7 million in 2016Q2 as soft retail sales and the typhoon season negatively impacted smartphone buying in the country.
“Despite years of hypergrowth in Myanmar’s emerging smartphone market, channels are now starting to lament about a looming slowdown as retail sales show signs of softening, causing inventory buildup across the board,” says Jerome Dominguez, Market Analyst for Mobile Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific.
IDC maintains a positive outlook for Myanmar’s smartphone market in 2017, although growth is expected to be tamer compared to previous years.
“IDC expects Myanmar’s smartphone market to grow by 9% this 2017 off the back of relatively low smartphone penetration rate and rising disposable income. This is already a lowered forecast to account for the slower consumer market and political instability in some parts of Myanmar,” adds Dominguez.
Myanmar’s projected growth for smartphones in 2017 still stands higher than the 6% growth expected in the whole ASEAN region for next year.
Myanmar Smartphone Vendor and Market Highlights, 2016Q3
Samsung continued to keep its lead, owing it largely to the good reception of its budget-friendly J-series. Huawei came in at 2nd place and while finishing with a flat quarter, its sales and distribution were still going strong across Myanmar. Vivo spiked last quarter, coming in at 3rd place as it further penetrated tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Xiaomi dropped to the 4th spot although its volume remained high and consumer response stayed positive as it continued to offer smartphones perceived as good value for money. OPPO held the 5th place, maintaining its stronghold in the urban sites of Yangon and Mandalay although its overall shipments dropped quarter-on quarter (QoQ) due to inventory build-up.
As with many developing countries, low-cost smartphones continue to thrive in Myanmar. In 2016Q3, 89% of smartphone shipments to the country fall below US$225. “Smartphones priced at US$50<US$150 still holds the sweet spot among Myanmar consumers. However, handsets in the US$150<US$250 price band are also on a growth track due to the influx of mid-range handsets from Chinese vendor Vivo,” adds Dominguez.
Despite being a budget market for devices, Myanmar’s feature phone market remains very small, unlike other emerging markets, accounting for only 20% of total mobile phone shipments in 2016Q3. “Channels in Myanmar are not expecting the feature phone market to pick up anytime soon based on the rather progressive device adoption in the country, where most consumers would typically opt for a smartphone as their first mobile phone,” states Dominguez.
In terms of screen size preference, smartphones in the <4.5“segment are now starting to diminish as Myanmar consumers go for larger screen sizes. 5” <5.5” handsets continue to gain traction, growing 44% YoY. Phablets (5.5” <6.99”) also saw a huge annual growth of 160% last 2016Q3, particularly driven by the rise in the 5.5”<6” segment. Huawei and Vivo lead the 5” <5.5” band while Xiaomi and Samsung reign supreme in the phablet category. “Myanmar’s increasing appetite for bigger screens is driven by the rising popularity of content consumption on social media, particularly on Facebook,” says Dominguez.
4G LTE has just been recently introduced to Myanmar but as of October 2016, all 3 telcos have already been able to roll out 4G LTE services. Concurrently, 4G-capable devices have also shown a spike in 2016Q3, growing 41% QoQ, with market leaders Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi leading the wave. “IDC has raised its 4G smartphone shipment forecast in Myanmar for 2017 to account for the positive uptake of 4G smartphones in the country and vendor direction to focus on this air interface moving forward,” says Dominguez
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