Smartphone battle heats up in Asia

12 November 2012

SINGAPORE: Over 80% of consumers in Asia believe that rival smartphones are either close to matching the standard of Apple's iPhone or have already done so, new figures show.

Blackbox Research and AIP, the insights providers, polled 12,000 adults in 12 markets, of which 30% agreed other smartphone brands were "starting to surpass Apple", while 9% stated that at least some operators were "already ahead" of the iPhone.

Elsewhere, another 44% of participants concurred that competitors to the American company were "catching up" in this area, whereas just 17% regarded Apple's opponents as being "way behind".

"Apple has definitely lost a little of its gloss and it will be interesting to see how they respond in what is now an increasingly competitive category," said David Black, Blackbox's managing director. "Remember what happened to Nokia when everyone thought they were unstoppable."

When making their next category purchase, a 37% share of the panel wanted to buy an iPhone, a total reaching 35% for Samsung and 28% upon discussing the other available options.

Apple's returns on this metric peaked at 55% in Japan and 52% in Thailand, the top two markets on this measure. China followed on 46%, in front of Vietnam, which recorded 44%.

Samsung, by contrast, was dominant in its home country of South Korea on 54%, and also easily held the leading position in Malaysia on 49% and India on 40%.

The ratings proved closer in Singapore, where Samsung posted 45% and Apple logged 37%. These scores stood at 45% and 36% respectively in Hong Kong, and hit 37% and 34% in turn for Indonesia.

Apple, however, held a modest lead among contributors from the Philippines, registering 36% compared with Samsung's 32%.

"The smartphone battle in Asia is now incredibly fierce with both brands winning battlegrounds in different parts of Asia and running neck to neck in others," said Black.

Reflecting the potential for change in this category, fully 63% of the sample intended to acquire a smartphone during the coming 12 months.

More specifically, exactly 23% of interviewees hoped to do so within the next three months. An additional 15% placed this timeframe at six months, and 25% anticipated doing so after this point.

Consumers in China displayed the greatest enthusiasm for obtaining a new device overall, whereas their Japanese counterparts had the lowest level of purchase intent, the study revealed.

Data sourced from Yahoo news; additional content by Warc staff