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Philippines among SE Asia countries where smartphones are least affordable –study

The Philippines is among the countries in Southeast Asia where smartphones are not affordable, according to a study by e-commerce aggregator iPrice Group.

In its study "State of Shoppers in Southeast Asia," iPrice said that “smartphones were found to be the least affordable for Vietnamese, Filipino and Indonesian consumers.”

It added that “in Vietnam and the Philippines, the average price for a mid-range smartphone is two or more times the average monthly salary.”

In Indonesia, the average cost of a new mid-range smartphone is more than the average monthly salary.

The e-commerce aggregator said that even low-end smartphones are expensive investments for customers in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia as they cost more than 70% of the average monthly wage.

The group said that given the situation in the said Southeast Asian markets, it is not surprising that many consumers sign fixed, pay-monthly contracts with telecommunication providers, to take advantage of affordable payment packages for the latest models or look to lenders for financing options such as “Buy Now, Pay Later.”

“Low affordability in these markets contrasts with markets such as Malaysia and Singapore where entry-level smartphones cost a third of a month’s salary or less. In the same countries, high-end smartphones were more affordable, costing around one month’s salary or less,” iPrice said.

IPrice said the affordability of smartphones was determined by comparing the average salaries of the selected countries with the average prices of selected smartphone models and brands such as Apple, Oppo, Samsung, and Vivo.

It said that the group tapped into its’ catalog of 7.5 billion offers from e-commerce marketplaces, sellers, and brands and compared actual smartphone pricing from 250,000 smartphone listings.

Information on smartphone pricing from these listings was supplemented with salary data from the World Bank to assess affordability, according to iPrice. — DVM, GMA News