Developing countries in Southeast Asia have shown encouraging signs of tablet growth, with more than 1.6 million tablets sold in 2011.
According to GfK retail tracking of tablet sales in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, five out of these six countries registered consistent expansion over each previous quarters, with Indonesia seeing an almost two-fold unit sales growth in the fourth quarter of last year.
The fourth most populous country in the world, Indonesia reported a 97 percent spike in unit sales of tablets in the fourth quarter over the previous quarter to reach over 245,000. This was well over the total sales of its first three quarters, with the full year takings reaching over USD284 million.
"Tablet sales, which started off on a slower note at the beginning of the year has definitely taken off in this part of the world, as reflected by the exponential growth within the year," said Gerard Tan, account director for digital technology at GfK Asia. "In Indonesia, several key manufacturers were successful in stepping up their marketing and distribution efforts nearing the end of last year, as evident in the steep sales surge in the last quarter," he added.
GfK findings revealed that Android is the region's favourite operating system (OS), with almost two in every three tablets purchased being Android devices. Its strong performance continues into the new year, chalking up almost USD243 million in sales within the first two months of the year, further growing its share of the volume pie to 70 percent.
Tan explained that due to the open source nature of the Android OS, tablets running on this OS are generally priced lower than those running on other OS. In addition, its greater affordability also encourages mass consumer adoption which in turn accelerates further development of its ecosystem.
While price of Android tablets averaged at around USD531 in 2011, those using other OS platforms hovered at USD676, rendering them less attractive with their price tag at nearly 30 percent higher.
"The combined muscles of numerous manufacturers have helped proliferate adoption of Android OS in Southeast Asia. This is a compelling factor for developers to create more applications to cater to market needs, leading to the tightening of gaps between Android and the reigning market leader," said Tan.
The 'open' nature of Android OS also bodes well in the business vertical industry, said Tan, whereby specialised applications can be developed and implemented to improve productivity, he concluded.
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