PH Smartphone sales grew by 400%, now at 29% share

PH Smartphone sales grew by 400%, now at 29% share

In recent studies done by GfK, it seems that handset manufacturers are doing a pretty good job so far in keeping price-conscious Juan engaged with their competitive smartphone offerings.

GfK Philippines has conducted a study that revealed a substantial growth in the mobile phone industry as compared to the previous year.

In the first five months of this year alone, there were 5.5 million phones was sold that amounts to $606.5 million in just the first five months of this year with a third of that total volume (1.7 million) and two-thirds of the total market value (over $400M) are attributed to smartphones.

In the past, only a privileged few has the luxury to own a smartphone. But due to the 23% decrease in average smartphone prices this year (From $317 to $244), more and more of our fellow countrymen are now enticed to own at least one smartphone.

This significant decrease in smartphone price is more evident in Davao and Mindanao with a 35% and 43% price drop respectively. The substantial price reduction seemed to have sparked a smartphone frenzy in Visayas and Mindanao which led to a 500%
increase in market value and a whopping 800% growth in units sold as compared to last year.


But even with this humongous increase in value and volume in Visayas and Mindanao, Manila still holds the big chunk of the market amounting to 57% in dollar shares. This is mainly because more than half of the smartphones that are offered in Manila are being sold.

The telcos also plays a key role in the rapid growth of the smartphone industry through their marketing strategies and promotions. Along with the telcos, retailers also played a big role in this rampant increase in smartphone sales (value and volume) by offering tempting discounts and flexible payment terms.

These factors led to a 408% increase in smartphones demand.

Although we are a bit skeptical with the results of this survey, we acknowledge the growing trend of smartphones in the Philippines.

  • The Samsung Galaxy Y was a huge hit. Samsung must have sold hundreds of thousands of units from last year. Telcos ran out of stocks, and retail stores were jacking up the prices due to high demand. Samsung followed-thru with similar low-priced Android phones.
  • Smart was pushing the Netphone while Globe was aggressively pushing their own Cloudfone, both running Android and being offered free under Php500 a month plans.
  • Cheaper BB plans drive more BlackBerry users. The Curve 8520 was last year’s most popular smartphone in the Philippines.
  • New entry-level players in the smartphone market — Cherry Mobile, Torque, Alcatel and even Lenovo are into the affordable smartphone market as well.

Still, we’re surprised that over 1.7 million smartphones have been sold in the Philippines from January to May of this year alone. That’s 1 smartphone in every 3 phones sold in the country.

Editor’s Note: Original reporting by Ron with additional commentaries by Abe.

This article was written by Ronnie Bulaong, a special features contributor and correspondent for YugaTech. Follow him on Twitter @turonbulaong.

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10 Responses

  1. It is not really a surprise considering that Galaxy Y is a smartphone with dumb-phone pricing. It is not a choice anymore between a smartphone and a feature phone.

    But wonder how much Smartphone share really grew if you remove Samsung Galaxy Y…

  2. simplynice93 says:

    Sir abe forgot to mention the low rates of BB services of PHL telcos which increased the Blackberry users in the country…

  3. Noir says:


    400%!!!!!!!! That’s fast for our country.

  4. paolo says:

    Credit the Samsung Galaxy Y, el cheapo MyPhones and Cherry Mo’s, and el cheapo Blackberry’s.


    But I wonder how the user experience feels on them el cheapo smartphones (No Temple Run on Y!)

    • Error404 says:

      wow, bumili k lng ba ng smartphone pra makapaglaro ng temple run?

    • Rod says:

      Because playing Temple Run is the end all and be all of the smartphone experience. You have to understand that it is not an easy jump from using feature phones to smartphones. The Galaxy Y, despite its low-end specs is a decent device under the entry level market. Using entry level smartphones can only expose consumers in understanding that phones of today are more than just for calls and texts. I won’t be surprised if the Galaxy Y users of today will be the future users of the S3s, HOXs and Xperias of the world. This is from a guy whose first smartphone was the Optimus One and is currently using the Galaxy Note.

    • @rod I agree that these low-end smartphones is a good intro for more high-end phones, and some of the customers do take this route. But I think the low-end price of 6k-8k for Galaxy Y is smartly-priced such that the choice for customer is not between a smartphone vs a feature phone. For them it is a phone – there is no distinction. And the market is flooded with these kinds of phones.

      So the 400% growth is more of a “re-categorization” rather than a shift in consumer needs.

    • paolo says:

      I mean coming from a streak of Nokia XpressMusic’s, and having XP’s on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, an BlackBerry, I have a bit of an irk to ultra low-end Android devices.

      For one, to drive costs down, they skimp on the spec sheets:

      Sub-1GHZ single core processors.
      Typical QVGA (240X320) and/or HVGA (320X480) Resolution.
      256-512 MB RAM.
      Cameras no higher than 5 MP still and/or VGA (640X480) video camera resolution (though it will suffice for the Instagram/Facebook shots)
      Android 2.3.x (There is even Android 2.2! At least some cheap Androids are now getting Android 4.0.x)

      Interestingly, the Galaxy Y actually loads Tumblr pages marginally faster than my Galaxy S2.

      Another thing, is that because of these “physical limitations,” some apps cannot function in these low-end Androids, if not at all, satisfactorily. Flipboard doesn’t work on some devices. Temple Run and some popular games.

      Personally, I feel that the best way to experience Android is to give a satisfactory experience, which seems to be only achievable with the right hardware and software.

  5. Jayson Moy says:

    Galaxy Y still a bestseller – a true smartphone because you can do more like browsing, FB, twitter…

    Kaya nga “Young” — then eventually you will ask for more…that’s the business of Samsung (and other manufacturers) It was able to get a bigger share of the pie previously held by Nokia.

    Imagine 5110, 3210, 3310…tapos nagka-colored na 3530, java, and the rest is history.

    My old Symbian Phone still working and collector’s item na lang.

    The market is SEGMENTED (low-end, high-end) and it depends on the CONTENTMENT of the USER.

  6. Roderick says:

    It also was not mentioned that there are new players with the technological know-how joining the fray, like Huawei and of course the comeback of Nokia. Still waiting for Nokia to “happen” again.

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