Thailand Smartphone Shipments Grow 3% YoY in 2021; OPPO Takes Top Spot

  • Thailand’s smartphone market saw a flattish 3% YoY growth in 2021. Shipments bounced back in Q4 2021 to meet YoY levels after a low-performing Q3 2021.
  • OPPO led the market with a 20.5% share, followed by Samsung at 18.6%. Both were big on marketing campaigns and online offers.
  • Xiaomi, realme, Apple, Infinix and OnePlus all achieved their highest shipments ever in Thailand.
  • Online channel share was 26% in Q4 2021, the highest compared to the neighboring SEA countries like Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.
  • 5G compatible devices made up 40% of Thailand’s total smartphone volumes in 2021.

 Hong Kong, London, Boston, Toronto, New Delhi, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – February 17, 2022

Thailand went through a challenging time in 2021 with COVID-19 and subsequent economic effects taking a toll on consumer spending habits and overall market sentiments. According to Counterpoint Research’s Southeast Asia Monthly Smartphone Channel Share Tracker, Thailand smartphone shipments grew 3% YoY in 2021 driven by increased 5G transition, more digital transformation in Tier II and Tier III towns and an all-time-high increase in e-commerce purchases.

Talking about the smartphone brands and their performance in 2021, Senior Analyst Glen Cardoza said, “Xiaomi invested comparatively less in marketing initiatives but was one of the brands that achieved the highest shipments ever due to its launches, partnerships in channels and association with ecosystem players like operators. Apple managed much higher volumes in Q4 2021 after the iPhone 13 series’ launch, crossing even the 2020 levels. realme did well with online festive sales and had good YoY growth in Q4 2021. Infinix performed much better on online sale days. Being an online-centric brand, Infinix has aggressively made its presence known on most e-commerce sites.”

Top OEMs Market Share in Thailand 2020 vs 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Southeast Asia Monthly Smartphone Channel Share Tracker, December 2021

The smartphone industry had a good first half in 2021 but Q3 pulled down the shipment levels for most brands due to high COVID-19 infection rates. Supply constraints increased in H2 2021, but brands made sure that Q4 had enough inventory with most channel partners. On the country’s economy, Cardoza said, “Thailand’s tourism industry has always been a major revenue generator, but it has consistently taken a hit over the last two years. Consumer buying behavior has been volatile over 2021. As the year went by, there were worries of declining consumer purchasing power. In contrast, due to Q3 restrictions, Q4 was able to utilize the benefits of pent-up demand. At the same time, the government’s digital economy initiatives did not stop. It made sure that broadband networks continued to expand in all regions and tech expertise reached major industries like healthcare and manufacturing, with the integration of 5G use cases in the pipeline. Even tourism started seeing an increase in domestic visitors. Q4 2021 was a bounce-back for most OEMs with regards to smartphone shipments but brands like Xiaomi slipped in rankings due to acute supply issues.”

Top OEMs Market Share in Thailand Q4 2020 vs Q4 2021

Source: Counterpoint Research Southeast Asia Monthly Smartphone Channel Share Tracker, December 2021

The transition to 5G has been a consistently strong trend in this country. Q4 2021 alone saw 49% of shipments coming from 5G smartphones. All main OEMs, led by Apple, vivo and OPPO, actively launched 5G smartphones through 2021. Just like the 5G trend, online shipment share grew much more towards the last quarter as compared to any year. Online shipments increased 27% in 2021 and most of this increase came in H2 2021.

In 2021, more cohesiveness was seen between operators, retail offline channels and e-commerce players, giving a big push to OEM volumes. Moreover, foreign investments continued to pour into Thailand, showing faith in the country’s growth strategy. In 2022, we should see tougher competition between the top five brands. There is also a possibility of increased shipments in the low- and mid-tier price bands as long as component constraints do not hamper production.

Market Summary:

  • Samsung was in a tight contest with OPPO in 2021. The brand coordinated with all its operator and retail partners to make sure that not only mid- and premium-end devices were promoted well but also their low-tier partners, including the A series, which worked so well for Samsung through the year. In marketing, Samsung’s partnership with South Korean band BTS was notable.
  • OPPO saw an 11% dip in overall shipments in 2021 but still managed to lead the market by a very slim margin with Samsung. OPPO’s Reno series did well in H2 2021
  • Online share of shipments hit 26% in Q4 2021, which is the highest for any quarter in Thailand. This means many more consumers opted to purchase their smartphones online due to factors like cost, offers and convenience.
  • In Q4 2021, 5G smartphones made up 49% of the country’s smartphone shipments, with the iPhone 13 series launch pushing the numbers.

Note: Xiaomi includes Redmi, POCO and Mi sub-brands. OPPO includes OnePlus.

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Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Glen Cardoza

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Glen is a Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research looking after the smartphone ecosystem in Southeast Asia and the global refurbished smartphone market. He has done his MBA in marketing and joins Counterpoint after a 7-year stint in core market research with global players like Nielsen. He has experience in primary quantitative as well as qualitative research. His expertise lies in the telecommunication and automotive sectors.

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