By Miguel Hanz L. Antivola, Reporter

THE Philippine smartphone market is expected to grow to 16.9 million shipments this year, a rebound from 2023’s performance that was affected by economic worries, according to International Data Corp. (IDC).

Data from IDC showed shipments are expected to go up from the 15.7 million forecast last year and 16.3 million in 2022.

“Vendors remained conservative and consumer appetite was cautious [in 2023], resulting to an overall subdued market performance due to economic uncertainties,” Angela Jenny V. Medez, IDC senior market analyst, in an e-mail interview with BusinessWorld.

“Philippine inflation peaked at the start of 2023 before slowing down towards the end,” she added. “[We anticipate] a rebound in 2024 consistent with the global growth outlook and consumption levels to pick up.”

Philippine smartphone shipments in the third quarter of 2023 declined by 12.7% from the prior three-month period due to vendors’ inventory clearance and preparation for the peak holiday season in the next quarter, Ms. Medez said.

Shipments also declined by 7.1% year on year, she added.

“Some players face fierce competition from Transsion in the <$200 price segment resulting to lower shipments,” she said.

From the fourth quarter of 2022 to the third quarter, Transsion was the leading smartphone brand with a 25.5% market share, according to IDC.

This was followed by realme (20.2%), Oppo (14.9%), Samsung (10.5%), and Xiaomi (10%).

Ms. Medez said Filipino consumers can expect a resurgence in foldable or flip phones this year, alongside a potential increase in the availability of prepaid eSIMs.