Sales Of Handheld Devices in Asia Dip

Sales of handheld devices in the Asia-Pacific region (excluding Japan) have dipped for the first time, said IDC.

Market analyst at IDC Asia-Pacific’s Personal Systems Research Group, Manny Lopez, explained: “In the midst of a gloomy economy and lack of consumer confidence, the handheld device market in Asia has contracted along with the rest of the world.”

The research company’s preliminary results showed that 1.06 million units of handheld devices were shipped to the Asia-Pacific region in the first half of 2002, down 19 percent from the first half of 2001 (these figures exclude the emerging category of ‘converged devices’ which combines telephony and traditional PDA features).

But despite the dip, many parts of Asia still hold potential for handheld devices, especially in the emerging countries that continue to post positive growth despite the slowdown in the rest of the region, said Lopez.

Although commercial market activity was still small in comparison to the consumer market, many of the multinational vendors were still able to ship units into industries such as insurance, finance, telecommunications, and logistics. New products, such as the Toshiba e310, were introduced to the region during the first half of the year, thus providing a wide range of product choices for buyers despite the consolidation of the HP Jornada into the iPAQ line.

Commented Lopez: “We expect seasonal improvement in the second half of year, particularly with the line-up of new devices slated for release.”

Country Highlights:
* China: The largest handheld device market in the region at 67 percent, China contracted by 23 percent as leading local vendors Hi-Tech Wealth and Minren slid in the second quarter. Legend, however, was able to grow in the second quarter to become a formidable competitor in the market. China’s decline was in conjunction with the economic slowdown, which has plagued much of the Asia/Pacific region.

* Korea: The Korean handheld device market contracted significantly (by 28 percent) as most local vendors there have moved into the wireless converged device market rather than traditional handhelds. Fortunately, HP was able to ship a commendable amount of iPAQs in the second quarter, primarily due to significant interest in the commercial sector.

* Emerging Markets: Emerging markets such as Malaysia and Thailand still hold promise with continued growth even during difficult times in other countries. India, although still a very small market, is expected to see growth from industries such as healthcare and insurance.

* Others: The remaining markets in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the mature markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, mirrored trends worldwide. These markets, which are dominated by multinational vendors, saw HP gained ground with the iPAQ. Sony was also able to make a very noticeable impression among consumers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia with the multimedia features and attractive industrial designs of its Clie product line.

Vendor Highlights:
* Palm: The leading multinational handheld device vendor has continued to maintain its lead despite a contraction in shipments along with the overall market. The vendor was also able to boast a number of wins from the corporate sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

* HP: The new HP, which includes the Compaq iPAQ line, has leapt into the number four spot in the region. As expected, the iPAQ line has performed well despite difficult economic times, and even saw noticeable commercial deployments in countries such as Korea.

* Others: Chinese vendors Hi-Tech Wealth, Minren, and Legend posted double-digit percentage declines on a year-on-year basis for the first six months. Despite efforts to slash prices, vendors such as Hi-Tech Wealth were not able to increase shipments in the second quarter, thus contributing to a slight decline in the Chinese market for the first half of the year. Nonetheless, the sheer size of the Chinese market still kept these three local Chinese vendors in the Top 5 rankings for the overall region.

Table: Asia-Pacific (ex. Japan) Handheld Device Shipments (‘000) by Vendor, H1 2002

RankVendorH1 2002Market ShareH2 2001Market ShareGrowth H1 02/H2 02
1Hi-Tech Wealth244.123%33025%-26%


APEJ Total1,063.90100%1,310.50100%-19%

Note: HP includes Compaq shipments
Source: IDC, July 2002 (preliminary)

News Around the Web