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Smartphone market in Malaysia - statistics and facts

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, smartphone adoption remains one of the defining factors in technological progress. Over the past few years, there has been a steady rise in the percentage of people in the emerging markets who own and use a smartphone. The proliferation of cheaply manufactured mobile phones and a decrease in the cost of service plans have helped drive smartphone uptake across the whole Asia-Pacific region. In 2019, the smartphone adoption rate in the Asia-Pacific region reached 64 percent and was expected to rise to 81 percent by 2025.

Smartphone users in Malaysia

Following the upward trend of Asia-Pacific’s smartphone industry, Malaysia’s expansion of its smartphone market was expected to hold steady at around five percent annually in the coming years. In 2018, there were around 17.2 million smartphone users in the country. This number was projected to grow to almost 21 million in 2023. While over 85 percent of mobile phone users under the age of 20 have a smartphone, only about 30.6 percent of users over 65 years own one. The same gap can be discovered in income differences: the chances of owning a smartphone are highest for people who earn more than five thousand Malaysian ringgit. However, the gap is getting smaller, and around 59 percent of users with an income below one thousand Malaysian ringgit still own a smartphone.

Leading mobile vendors

As of June 2020, Huawei was, despite their difficulties with the USA and Google’s operating system Android, the market leader among all smartphone vendors in Malaysia. The Chinese manufacturer was followed by Apple and Samsung. The main reason for Huawei’ success is not its strong performance but rather Samsung’s lost of market share in the past few years. It seems that the Android market has become more open and the trust in well established brands has shrunk. In addition, lesser-known smartphone brands like Oppo have conquered the market with low-priced smartphones to meet the demand of people with smaller incomes.

Smartphone usage

A growing number of smartphone users have led to a higher interest in user behavior, which can be used to privatize advertising and to provide perfectly tailored products to the target group. In Malaysia about 98 percent of internet users use social networking apps regularly. User data collected by the most popular social media providers such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are increasingly valuable these days.


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