Sales of tablet computers across Southeast Asia have doubled over the past year to reach an estimated 6.1 million units, according to data from GfK Asia. The report states three tablets are bought for every four laptops sold in the region, proving that traditional PCs are under-threat worldwide, not just in the West.
Tracking Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines, GfK Asia estimates sales of tablet devices between June 2012 and May 2013 increased 101 percent over the previous year’s tally of just over 3 million. In a clear sign that tablets are rivaling laptops as the main device for Internet connectivity, GfK says that laptops now account for just 57 percent of the total sales of tablets and laptops across the six countries.
Sales of laptops didn’t decline over the period and were actually up six percent year-on-year, the firm says, estimating that over 8 million were sold — up from 7.7 million last year. While laptop sales haven’t contracted, the surge in consumer interest and spending on tablets have undoubtedly cut the growth of sales across Southeast Asia.
Commenting on the findings, Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital Technology at GfK Asia, said:
Consumers in the region’s developing markets eager to get their hands on the latest tablets and laptops spurred the overall market’s strong double digit growth rate in the range of 11 to 54 percent. However, it is mainly the tablet market which has been the key growth propeller with four of the six countries reporting more than two-fold incremental sales volume.
Indonesia took top spot for tablet sales, accounting for nearly 1.3 million units, marking a 141 percent rise year-on-year. That growth is topped by the Philippines, where tablet sales shot up 322 percent over 12 months — with 450,000 units sold in one year.
GfK Asia notes that laptop sales remained steady in many markets, peaking in Indonesia and Thailand which charted 17 percent and 16 percent growth respectively. Sales of laptops did fall in the Philippines and Singapore however, but the fact that overall figures grew across the region is definitely a positive for device makers.
The data doesn’t drill down into figures based on tablet platforms, but it seems likely that Android-based devices are dominant thanks to retail prices. A May report from GfK Asia found that the Google-owned platform powers 70 percent of smartphones sold in the region. Smartphone sales are estimated to have increased by 61 percent year-on-year.
Smartphone sales are likely to be cannibalizing the sale of PCs and tablets, but, based on the latest figures, it is entirely plausible that sales of tablets could match or beat those of laptops in Southeast Asia next year.
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