Apple topped Hong Kong market for smart devices in 2013

US giant tops sales in the city last year for smartphones, tablets and laptops, although total spending on these products fell, research shows

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 1:33am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 February, 2014, 3:48am

Apple scored a neat hat trick in Hong Kong last year as the technology giant led sales of smartphones, media tablets and laptop personal computers, market estimates show.

Despite Apple's strong showing, total spending on those smart devices decreased 5 per cent to HK$31.63 billion last year, from HK$33.27 billion in 2012, mainly due to an overall decline in smartphone sales, according to data from researcher GfK. The total number of smartphones sold last year reached 5.5 million units, down from 6.1 million in 2012. By comparison, the volume of tablet sales increased to 1.6 million units last year from 1.3 million in 2012. Laptop sales declined to 486,000 units from 522,000 the previous year.

Walter Leung, the managing director at GfK in Hong Kong, said: "The updated versions of the iPhone 5 - the iPhone 5s and 5c - released by Apple were not able to exceed market expectations and spur high demand."

That echoed what Douglas Li, the chief executive at mobile network operator SmarTone Telecommunications, said last week about the slow uptake for new smartphone models in Hong Kong last year. "In the last six to nine months, there hasn't been a hit handset model that would have encouraged more customers to upgrade," Li said.

Global smartphone market leader Samsung Electronics introduced its flagship Galaxy S4 in Hong Kong in April, while Apple released its iPhone 5s and 5c models in September.

Although the local market was generally sluggish, about 42 per cent of the smartphones consumers purchased in the city last year were premium models that cost HK$5,500 or higher, according to GfK.

Leung pointed out that about 69 per cent of total smartphones sold last year were models that support high-speed 4G mobile network services.

Technology research firm IDC said the top-five smartphone brands in Hong Kong in the quarter to December were Apple, Samsung, Sony, LG Electronics and HTC.

Tablet sales in Hong Kong last quarter were also led by Apple, followed by Samsung, AsusTek, Sony and Lenovo.

The top laptop brands in the same period were Apple, Lenovo, AsusTek, Hewlett-Packard and Acer.

IDC data showed that Apple was also the No1 brand for the three smart device segments in Hong Kong in the previous three quarters.

In the quarter to December, GfK estimates show that total spending on smartphones, tablets and laptops in the city fell 7 per cent to HK$8.4 billion, from HK$9.02 billion a year earlier, because of slow smartphone sales.

Leung expected sales of entry-level and mid-range smartphone models to pick up in Hong Kong this year as aggressive mainland brands enter the market.

Beijing-based Xiaomi last month formed separate co-operation deals with HKT, the telecommunications arm of PCCW, and Hutchison Telecommunications' Three Hong Kong to distribute its popular low-cost smartphones, such as the HK$999 Hongmi model, in the city.