Sales of feature phones fall, but popularity remains high

May 30, 2017 | 10:22 am GMT+7

The sales of low-cost feature phones decreased by 10 percent in Vietnam in the last year, although they are expected to remain popular for several years.


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A report from GfK, a market analysis firm, showed that about 25,000 feature phones were sold weekly in recent weeks, much lower than the number of smartphones which was 55,000-60,000.

As such, feature phones now account for 30 percent of the market share. One year ago, the products amounted to 40 percent of market share.

In Vietnam, feature phones are called ‘brick phones’ as they are as heavy as bricks, and they are different from smartphones which are light and thin. 

The average price of ‘brick phone’ in Vietnam has dropped to a low of VND530,000. Of the 10 best sellers, only one model has the selling price of over VND1 million -- Nokia 230 Dual SIM, priced at VND1.375 million.

This is in contrast with the smartphone market, where the average value of smartphones sold is VND6 million.

In a market which is getting narrower, Nokia is still the best known name with sales amounting to 50 percent of total sales. The mobile phone brand, which now belongs to HMD Global, has 5-6 models on weekly lists of the 10 bestselling feature phone models.

Vietnam is listed among the hottest smartphone markets in the world. The average selling price of smartphones in Vietnam increased rapidly from VND3 million to VND6 million within four years.

Retailers have predicted that the sales of feature phones will fall further once 4G services are provided throughout the country. 

“The availability of 4G services with fees nearly the same with 3G will encourage users to shift to use smartphones instead of feature phones,” the representative of a retail chain said.

However, he does not believe that feature phones will ‘perish’ in Vietnam.

“The demand for brick phones is still very high, and the demand will continue, at least for several years,” he said.

Therefore, manufacturers continue to launch new feature phone models into the market. 

HMD Global earlier this year marketed Nokia 150 with the retail price of VND750,000. It plans to introduce Nokia 3310 2017 in Vietnam, at a retail price of over VND1 million. 

Unlike Nokia, the other manufacturers focus on models which are very cheap. With VND300,000, users can choose models from Philips, Itel, Mobell and Mobiistar.

The super-cheap models also have important features, such as a camera, color screen and a slot for microSD cards.