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Cebu consumers upgrading to smartphones, says retailer

CEBU CITY, Dec. 11 — An owner of a cell phone store chain in Cebu said the Philippines has one of the fastest growing smarthpone markets in Southeast Asia.

Jun Yap of Junrex Cellphones & Accessories Inc. said consumers look forward to changing their cell phones these days not because of style and color but because of technology and features like Wi-Fi and social media tools.

Yap said there is a reviving demand in the 4th quarter this year, following a “stagnant and slow growth last year.”

He said this was because major cellphone manufacturers introduced a wide-array of smartphones and tablets with improved features at a lower price.

”Those brands that were not able to innovate got left behind,” he said.

Yap is expecting a surge in sales during this quarter, given that cellphones, smartphones and tablets are ideal holiday presents.

Sales of mobile units in Junrex increased by 15 percent this year, mostly driven by smartphones and tablets, he said.

Cebu’s increased purchasing power, driven by industries with high-paying jobs like call centers, also fueled the growth in the mobile market.

GfK Philippines said the country is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the emerging Southeast Asia region.

Almost 1.7 million units of smartphones have been sold in the first five months of the year, translating to more than five times the volume sales from the same period last year, the report said.

GfK Philippines also said that almost 5.5 million mobile phones valued at USD696.5 million have been sold since the beginning of 2012 of which smartphones made up 30 percent in volume and contributed 66 percent in value.

”Basic feature phones grew in sales volume by 30 percent and continue to remain popular but it was the smartphone segment, with its 408 percent spike in demand, that has been stirring up the industry,” said Benny Villanueva, general manager of GfK Philippines.

Villanueva said the increasing demand is triggered by the affordability of smartphones and the zero percent interest programs of up to 24 months, on top of the aggressive promotion schemes of retailers.

The average price of smartphones in the Philippines dropped 23 percent from last year’s USD317 to USD244 this year.

In terms of performance, the research firm noted that the take up rate of smartphones has consistently been increasing across all regions in the country but it is in Visayas and Mindanao that they recorded the most rapid adoption. (PNA)

HBC/EB/BH

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