Asia embraces lower-cost tablets

03 May 2012

SINGAPORE: Tablet PCs are enjoying rapid sales growth in emerging Asia, with price proving to be a key factor behind consumer purchase decisions.

New figures from GfK Asia have indicated that 1.6m tablets were sold across six southeast Asian markets – Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – during 2011.

Of the six, Indonesia recorded the sharpest growth rates as the year went on, with sales rising 97% between the third and fourth quarters of last year to drive annual revenues of $284m.

In comments accompanying the data, GfK pointed to an increased marketing push for the devices by local vendors as a crucial factor in this increase.

Meanwhile, sales also grew in Malaysia, which remains southeast Asia's largest market with annual revenues of $374m.

Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia, said: "Tablet sales, which started off on a slower note at the beginning of the year has definitely taken off in this part of the world, as reflected by the exponential growth within the year."

Devices powered by Google's Android operating system, which generally retail at a lower price point than Apple's iPad, were found to have taken a market share of around 70% across the six nations.

Price differential was identified as a key cause of this dominance, with Android tablets selling for an average price of $531 last year in the markets measured by GfK for the survey, compared to rivals' $676.

But the iPad remains the tablet market leader. Figures from Strategy Analytics covering the fourth quarter of 2011 suggest that Apple had a 58% share of global shipments, compared to Android's 39%.

Data sourced from GfK Asia/Wall Street Journal; additional content by Warc staff