The implementation of the TRAIN Act (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) in the Philippines has increased the take-home pay of some employees, thus boosting the upgrading of phones. 2019 saw a greater shift to mid-priced smartphones at the expense of low-priced ones.
Smartphones with a screen size of 5.5 inches and above, colloquially known as “phablets”, continued to gain ground in 2019 as more activities are being carried out on smartphones, such as gaming.
Smartphone manufacturers in the Philippines are investing heavily in marketing and advertising campaigns. Many of the campaigns focus on the fact that the Philippines is well known for its high social media consumption and thus marketing strategies often centre on the photo-taking capabilities of smartphones.
Cosmic Technologies Inc, the NBO of the Cherry brand, remained the leading player in smartphones in 2018. The company’s ability to retain its leading position in a highly competitive category can be attributed to a combination of affordable products, improved distribution and marketing and a deep understanding of local consumers, especially those in rural areas.
Chinese smartphone brands such as Xiaomi, Vivo, Huawei and Oppo are intensifying their marketing and retailing strategies in the Philippines, in order to keep up with the campaigns run by leading brand Cherry. For instance, Huawei markets its high-quality camera using social media influencers, while Xiaomi is targeting the rising number of consumers who value gaming functionality in smartphones.
Brands that are gaining share in mobile phones are the ones that are investing in product innovations rather than focusing on cost-leadership. The new products launched in 2019 have contributed to sustaining interest among consumers, who generally have greater disposable incomes and thus a rising willingness to invest in a mid-priced smartphone with features that improve on those that users have previously experienced.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Electronics market research database.