New Apple iPhone models are expected to be available in Thailand by the end of next month, stimulating sales for high-end smartphones in the last quarter of the year, say local analysts.
On Wednesday, Apple unveiled three new iPhones to bolster its position in the premium smartphone market.
Jarit Sidhu, head of operations for IDC Thailand, a technology research firm, said he believes that the new iPhones will not impress Thai consumers, as they offer only minor upgrades to previous models.
But the new iPhone XR offers more value for money and could receive good feedback compared with the iPhone 5c, he said.
Mr Jarit said existing models, including the iPhone X, will be replaced by the new models. Some old iPhone models are available for less than 20,000 baht each, and users may trade them in for new models.
Mr Jarit said that by widening variety and price bands, Apple will be able to maintain its market share and compete with smartphone rivals from China and South Korea’s Samsung.
“Introducing the larger screen display with a higher price band also helps Apple to earn higher margins,” he said.
Juthamas Tangtatpongsathorn, a market analyst at IDC Thailand, said the iPhone X did not receive a warm response from Thai consumers, but it sold well in the US and China.
But the new iPhone XS Max, which comes with a 6.5-inch display, will help attract Android users to the iPhone, particularly older people who need a bigger screen, she said.
IDC forecasts that the market for smartphones with 6- to 6.5-inch displays will be more active and more accepted by consumers because of broader price bands.
The agency expects the launch of three new iPhones to help increase the iOS smartphone market share to 16% in the fourth quarter this year, while Android-based smartphones will make up 84% locally.
In the third quarter, which ends on Sept 30, Android-based smartphones look set to make up as high a share as 95%, leaving just 5% to iOS phones.
“This happens every year, Apple gains a higher share in the fourth quarter,” Ms Juthamas said.
She said the ultra-premium smartphones currently priced higher than US$600 (19,567 baht) are gaining more momentum as Chinese players enter the segment.
IDC data showed that the market share of ultra-premium smartphones, in which the main players are Samsung and Apple, rose to 12.6% in the first quarter this year from 7.1% a year earlier.
The overall local smartphone market is expected to contract slightly to 21.5 million units this year from 22.2 million units sold last year, due to market saturation.