Asian consumers are spending almost as much money on smartphones as on feature and basic phones, a GfK survey has found.
The research firm’s study - which covered ASEAN, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea - said that consumers bought 4.7 million smartphones worth $1.48 billion (€1.08 billion) in the third quarter, compared to just 1.27 million units in the same period last year.
While just one in every five phones sold was a smartphone, smartphones accounted for almost half the value of all handsets sold.
“Smartphones are the key drivers of the telecommunications industry at this moment,” said Gerard Tan, GfK Asia regional account director for telecom.
He said competition is intensifying among the handset platforms, with Symbian under threat from the Android operating system (OS), which posted strong growth in the second and third quarters.
“Our Q3 report shows that Android has recently overtaken Symbian as the most popular smartphone OS in the context of Asia as a whole, in both value and unit sales,” Tan said.
He said smartphone OS competition was at its most intense in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, with market share fluctuating in response to vendor sales initiatives.
Android started escalating at the beginning of 2010 and overtook iOS, the second most popular platform, in the second quarter.
In southeast Asia, Symbian still dominates despite gradually losing market share to Android, RIM and iOS.