Smartphone sales show 6-percent growth for 2012 on rising demand


TAIPEI — Sales of smartphones in Taiwan grew by an annual 6 percent in 2012, driven by rising demand, market research firm GfK said Wednesday.

GfK said the country’s smartphone sales volume last year increased to 9.15 million units, from 8.63 million units in 2011, the highest level in recent years in terms of both volume and growth.

The increase began in the first half of last year, in reflection of rising demand for high-end smartphones, which led to replacement buying, the research firm said.

The momentum continued into the second half of the year as shipments of budget smartphones increased and telecom operators began including low-end smartphones in their preferential packages, GfK said.

Robert Wu, a senior analyst with GfK, said high-end smartphones accounted for about 50 percent of the total smartphone sales in Taiwan in 2012, thanks mainly to the attractive phone plans offered by telecom operators.

Last year, sales of entry-level smartphones jumped 500 percent year-on-year, accounting for 10 percent of the total smartphone sales in the country, Wu said.

The popularity of smartphones in Taiwan largely resulted from lower component prices, which made the devices cheaper, Wu said.

Sales were further lifted last year by the competitive data plans offered to entry-level phone users by telecom operators, in a bid to increase the population of Internet users, he said.

After the rapid growth of smartphone sales in the past three years, vendors should come up with measures to encourage users of the 2G technology to upgrade their data plans, which will boost growth even more in 2013, GfK suggested.

The research firm forecast that the development of the long-term evolution (LTE) technology in the domestic market will help drive the growth of the local smartphone market over the next few years.