The Philippines is among the countries in Southeast Asia where smartphones are the least affordable, according to a study by e-commerce aggregator iPrice Group.
The report “A study on the affordability of smartphones in SEA” showed that smartphones were the least affordable for Vietnamese, Filipino, and Indonesian consumers.
In Vietnam and the Philippines, in particular, the report adds the average price for a mid-range smartphone is two (2) or more times the average monthly salary. Moreover, high-end phones are even more out of reach costing from three to six times their monthly salary.
In contrast, entry-level phones in Malaysia and Singapore cost a third of a month’s salary or less, while high-end smartphones were more affordable, costing around one month’s salary or less. This makes sense because average incomes are higher in these countries.
Another problem faced by lower-income countries are the difference in smartphone prices (those sold by third-party sellers whether online or offline) from their MSRP. iPhones, for example, see little difference in their pricing across different sellers. But prices for OPPO, vivo, and Samsung models have price differences of up to 50% between these markets, with Indonesia and the Philippines affected the most. This does put focus on the importance of checking official price listings before buying from other sellers.
Given all this, iPrice said that it’s “no surprise” that consumers opt for fixed, pay-monthly contracts with telecommunication providers for more affordable payment packages for the latest smartphones or look to lenders (like Home Credit) for more flexible financing options.