Mobile Phone in Taiwan
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MOBILE PHONES IN TAIWAN
Volume sales of feature phones declines by 50% in 2014 to reach 740,000 units
Free smartphones with mobile phone contract plans further reduce demand for feature phones
Volume sales of smartphones grow by 20% in 2014 to reach 8.7 million units
Manufacturers move to low-end smartphones as high-end smartphones become saturated
In 2014, switch from feature phones to low-end smartphones became more pronounced with free smartphones offered by telecommunications operators when consumers sign up for mobile phone contract plans. This was driven by smartphone manufacturers which increasingly found high-end smartphones in Taiwan saturated, and moved to offer more low- end products.
The focus of feature phones is on senior consumers who are not comfortable with or do not want a smartphone. Major features include large numbers for older users, dual SIM operation and bright, colourful handset designs. There is also a movement towards larger screens and touch-screen capability, making feature phones appear more smartphone-like.
Smartphones continued to grow at a rapid pace in 2014. New launches stimulated interest amongst the media and consumers – larger screen sizes and cheap unlimited 3G plans further convinced people to adopt smartphones and use them as the primary means to get connected online. Smartphones became a personal entertainment hub for Taiwanese. Phones are central to listening to music, getting online and social media, as well as most being used as a camera for taking and sharing photos. Most teenage users’ first phones are now smartphones. The rising trend for smartphones in Taiwan is a smartphone with a bigger screen size.
The most popular operating system for smartphones in 2014 was Android with 70% retail volume share, due to the huge number of models and brands available, such as Samsung, Sony and new entrant Xiaomi. iOS was the next-largest operating system in 2014 with 19% retail volume share.
The most popular type of contract purchased is monthly subscription; this option is growing as consumers are increasingly attracted to unlimited 3G internet plans offered by telecommunications companies. Data consumption on smartphones used to chat; surf the internet and stream media content have become an integral part of Taiwanese lifestyle and mobile contract monthly subscriptions are more value-for-money for this purpose. Moreover, telecommunications companies in Taiwan have been very active in promoting monthly subscription plans such as providing free smartphones or smartphones at lower prices with contracts signed.
The cost of owning a smartphone in Taiwan is considered to be relatively affordable. A 3G monthly subscription plan with 3GB data usage costs approximately NT$550. There are many various options in terms of customisation of data usage amount or voice call that can suit various consumer needs. In 2014, low-end smartphone brand Xiaomi became a hit in Taiwan with its 5-inch large screen size smartphone that generated a lot of interest, providing a good quality smartphone at a low price, making smartphones even more accessible to the average consumer in Taiwan.
© Euromonitor International
MOBILE PHONES IN TAIWAN
Pre-paid mobile service is declining in popularity amongst Taiwanese consumers with more switching to mobile subscription due to the increase in usage of data on smartphones for chatting and entertainment. However, pre-paid is still common amongst older consumers, as well as incoming tourists to Taiwan who want to be connected by mobile for a few days.Taiwan telecommunications operators provide a huge variety of pre-paid options available at affordable costs, making it very attractive for incoming tourists to purchase them. This is particularly attractive for incoming young tourists who would purchase a data-only pre- paid SIM card for use to be connected to social networks such as Facebook and upload photos of their travels in Taiwan.
In 2014, Taiwan started to enter the 4G internet service. Many leading smartphone brands gradually launched new 4G models. Leading telecommunications operator Chunghwa Telecoms is expecting to have its 4G service available for its consumers by the end of 2014. The growth of 4G will attract consumers to replace their smartphones and increase sales. However, some consumers are also still happy with sticking to 3G due to the perceived higher cost of 4G.
Telco-operated stores remained the largest channel for mobile phone purchases but the channel’s volume share declined over the review period. More consumers are purchasing their phones outright as this gives them a greater choice of options and prices through shopping around. Thus, other electronics and appliance specialist retailers recorded increasing share over the review period. For example, leading electronics and appliance specialist retailer Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co Ltd concentrated on mobile phone retailing in 2013. Tsann Kuen cooperated with Aurora Communications a telecommunication operator in Taiwan to increase its mobile phone sales and launched promotions, such as if consumers bought their mobile phone plans through Tsann Kuen stores, the company will offer a free television.
Nokia Group dominated feature phones with 55% volume share in 2013, while Samsung Electronics Taiwan Co Ltd was the top player within smartphones in Taiwan with 24% volume share. Nokia has traditionally been strong in Taiwan for its feature phones and while many other mobile phone players switched focus towards the end of the review period to smartphones, Nokia did not succeed in doing so. Hence, even though it retained its dominance within feature phones, in terms of total volume sales, the company did not perform well in Taiwan, declining by 43% in retail volume terms in 2013.
Samsung Electronics Taiwan Co Ltd on the other hand recorded an increase in share year- on-year within smartphones over the review period, against the backdrop of strong growing smartphones sales. The company has a wide product portfolio that covers all price brackets and was very active in terms of marketing and promotional activities in Taiwan. Moreover, the rise of Korean pop culture in Taiwan has helped Samsung boost its brand recognition amongst Taiwanese consumers as Korean pop dramas often feature celebrities using Samsung smartphones.
In 2013, Sony Taiwan Ltd recorded the strongest