Smartphones ‘least affordable’ in Philippines among SEA countries —report

July 22, 2022 - 5:51 PM
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Smartphone user
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Smartphones were found to be the “least affordable” in the social media-savvy Philippines among select Southeast Asian countries, e-commerce aggregator iPrice group found. 

In its July report, the marketing firm compared the average monthly salaries of Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore with the average prices of four smartphone models in the Southeast Asian market. 

It turns out that a mid-range smartphone would cost a Filipino two months’ worth of their salary at most. 

The basic pay rate in Metro Manila, one of the Philippines’ key metropolitan cities, is P570 for the non-agriculture sector and P533 for the agriculture sector. Minimum-wage earners typically take home around P13,000 to P14,000 a month. 

Low-end smartphones – which are pegged at the cheapest prices – were also found to be “expensive investments” in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia, costing over 70% of the average monthly wage in the three countries. 

Higher-end models of smartphones, the group said, are “simply out of reach” in the same countries, as smartphones would usually cost from three to six times their monthly salary. 

iPrice, however, stressed that the unaffordability of smartphones is driven not just by different income levels but also by varying smartphone pricing. 

Among the five Southeast Asia markets studied, higher-end smartphones were pegged at higher prices in lower-income markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines. iPrice group linked this with the growing demand for smartphones.  

“Online sellers in these markets can offer high-end models at a significantly higher rate than the MRP to consumers who consider these smartphones a worthwhile if considerable investment,” it said