Taipei, June 16 (CNA) Taiwan saw smartphone sales in the first quarter of this year grow from a year earlier for the first time in five years, on the back of a replacement wave in the new 5G age, market information advisory International Data Corp. (IDC) said Wednesday.
IDC said about 1.38 million smartphones were sold in Taiwan during the January-March period, up 2.7 percent from a year earlier, marking the first year-on-year growth since the first quarter of 2017.
Joey Yen, associate research director at IDC Taiwan's small connected device division, said the global smartphone market weakened last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic hurting consumption.
However, Yen said the smartphone market in Taiwan saw light at the end of the tunnel after the country started 5G services in the middle of 2020, pushing up demand and paving the way for year-on-year growth in the first quarter of this year.
Telecom services providers in Taiwan have largely shifted their subsidies from 4G phones to their 5G counterparts, so 5G smartphones accounted for 71.1 percent of total sales in the first quarter, IDC said.
Due to strong 5G smartphone sales, the average sales price in Taiwan's smartphone market grew 14.8 percent from a year earlier with mid-range models priced between US$400 and US$600 and flagship models priced US$1,000 or higher dominating the market.
IDC said the presence of the latest iPhone 12 series, the first Apple Inc. phones to support 5G applications, prompted consumers to replace their 4G phones. The new iPhone models went on sale in Taiwan in October 2020.
Joanne Chiang (江靖婷), an IDC Taiwan analyst, said the market share of mid-range models rose 81.2 percent from a year earlier to 145,000 units in the first quarter on the back of efforts made by brands in the Android camp to launch new products.
Chiang said Apple's new phones helped flagship models score a 52.3 percent increase in sales which stood at 359,000 units, in the three month period.
In the first quarter, IDC said, U.S.-based Apple was the top seller in the Taiwan smartphone market, taking a 40.9 percent share, followed by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. (26.5 percent), China's OPPO (8.0 percent), China's Vivo (6.9 percent), and China's Xiaomi, which sold its phones under three brands: Xiaomi, Redmi and POCOPHONE, (6.2 percent).
IDC said the top five smartphone sellers accounted for an 88.5 percent share of the market in Taiwan, making it difficult for competitors to replace any of them in the rankings.
According to IDC, Taiwan's smartphone market expects to achieve record sales in 2021, after weakness the previous five years, as demand continues to rise.