KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 17): Samsung remained Malaysians' top smartphone choice last year, according to the latest data from International Data Corp (IDC).
"Samsung remains No 1 driven by the popularity of the Galaxy J series among the budget-conscious crowd. The Galaxy Note 7 fiasco had minimal impact to Samsung's overall performance in Malaysia as the high-end range was not its key seller in Malaysia," said US-based market research firm IDC in a statement today.
IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker revealed that last year, smartphone shipments in Malaysia totalled 8.78 million units, a 5.9% decline from 9.34 million in 2015.
IDC attributed the decline in 2016 smartphone shipment to various negative economic factors.
"(Smartphone) vendors and resellers experienced minor setbacks as their profits were squeezed, mainly due to the weakening ringgit against the greenback combined with other rising costs," it said.
"However, smartphone shipments still recorded activity as it was driven by consumers’ need to upgrade their phones to better ones that come with higher specifications such as larger memory size, battery capacity and camera quality," added IDC.
According to Jensen Ooi, market analyst of client devices at IDC Asia-Pacific, the market situation led local resellers to opt to upsell brands that not only have better margins, but have become popular with consumers, mainly Samsung and China brands such as Huawei, OPPO, and vivo.
"Budget and brand-conscious consumers are increasingly opting for brands that have become globally renowned via aggressive marketing initiatives and well-built devices,” he said.
Out of the 8.78 million units shipped into Malaysia last year, Samsung accounted for 3.02 million units, gaining a market share of 34.3% from 27.6% in 2015.
OPPO took second place with 916,000 units shipped in 2016, accounting for a 10.4% market share of total smartphone shipments, followed by Huawei with 852,000 units shipments and a 9.7% market share.
Apple, meanwhile, saw its share of Malaysia's smartphone market decline to 8.1% last year from 9.3% in 2015, with 715,000 shipments. It came in fifth place in the top five smartphone vendors list.
In 2017, IDC expects vendors to streamline their model lineups, particularly the large vendors as they attempt to move toward midrange/high-end devices to better manage their resources and stay relevant in the market.
"Low-end devices catered to the budget-conscious consumers will mainly be supplied by either operator brands or lesser known brands.
"The prices of each new generation of smartphone released will also be higher compared with the last due to new features and the currency impact, which is unlikely to improve anytime soon," said IDC.