Thanks to the rising affordability of ICT products and falling costs of telecommunication services, digital devices have become part of the daily life of ASEAN consumers.

This has boosted the demand for consumer electronics accessories, including peripherals for cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, home audio and wearable electronics.

A Battlefield for Global and Local Brands

In the mainstream consumer electronic sector, international brands such as Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, Canon, Panasonic and Pioneer have strong presence in ASEAN. These global brands have developed strong consumer awareness and preference through aggressive advertising and appointing famous celebrities to be brand ambassadors.

Samsung dominates in most electronic categories, including smartphones, television sets and home audio, with the largest market share in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.[1]

That said, low-priced and mid-range smartphones from other brands, especially Chinese mobile companies such as Oppo, Vivo, Xiami, ZTE, Lenovo, Wiko, Asus and Huawei, are also vying to tap growth opportunities and increase their market footprint across ASEAN through various channels.

In ASEAN, the electronic accessories sector is highly fragmented with the presence of many premium and unknown brands.

Many established smartphone brands, like Samsung, Apple, Sony, Huawei, Lenovo, and LG are launching electronic gadgets to get a piece of this highly lucrative market. While global brands continue to ride built up consumer trust and aggressive advertising, local brands usually compete on price, with such brands are popular in Indonesia and Thailand.

In terms of electronic accessories, global brands such as Apple focus on premium products, like cables and earbuds offered in the Apple Store.

This has given ample room to new brands to sell similar products of near-identical quality at a lower price. For other products not covered by global brands, like multi-port wall plugs and portable chargers, there are numerous brands offering innovative electronic accessories, including Fitbit, Zebronics, Logitech, Portronics, Belkin, Philips, Targus, Plantronics, B&O Play, Seiko, Epson, Beats Electronics, Anker, and many more. However, a large proportion of players in the electronic accessories market are anonymous.

Key industry players in AESAN have high regard for electronic products from Hong Kong. They consider Hong Kong electronics and IT gadgets as creative and high quality. Armed with a deep understanding of both eastern and western markets, Hong Kong firms have superior commercialisation skills that can spin out innovative products more rapidly across the region.

Key Market Growth Drivers

ASEAN – A Digital and Mobile Region

There is more than 100% mobile phone penetration rate in many Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. With mobile internet penetration of over 80% as of end-2017, the region is increasingly connected through smartphones, tablets and other mobile gadgets. ASEAN has still not reached the saturation level as most of the mobile phone penetration has been concentrated in cities, leaving huge growth potential for non-urban areas. The rising affordability of smartphones, increasing popularity of social networks and online video streaming in the region is likely to continue to fuel the demand for digital devices and accessories.

Enhanced Technologies and Product Launches

The emergence of new technologies has enhanced connectivity in major ASEAN cities, unlocking the huge demand for IT gadgets and accessories. Increasingly powerful Wi-Fi options are available at public areas, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes, which enable the wide adoption of connected devices. Young consumers in ASEAN are adapting well to using new technologies, such as face detection, live stream video and voice command.

In key ASEAN countries, many international brands, such as Samsung, LG and Apple, are constantly launching new versions of their products, which incorporate new technologies with more applications and features. Some of the latest innovations unveiled at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) held at Las Vegas have been launched in Southeast Asia as well. For instance, Asus launched its Zenfone AR smartphone[2] in Malaysia in 2017.

As new consumer electronics products become more advanced and able to multi-task, the need for power to charge the mobile devices is also rising, which drives the demand for power banks. With rapid technological advancement and new technologies embedded in electronic devices, more innovative electronic accessories will be introduced in Southeast Asia to meet the changing consumer needs.

Mobile Devices Propel Power Banks

As technology develops, mobile devices have increasingly become a part of everyday lives across ASEAN. People install many apps to make their life easier and they also play games on their mobile devices. These make the mobile device battery drain faster than usual and, in most cases, the mobile device shuts down before the end of the day. The power bank is highly anticipated to foster the mobile accessory market in the years to come.

Almost all consumer electronic brands today offer power banks to use with the devices they produce. However, each one has its own specific features which make them stand out from the crowd. With technology advancements, power banks are becoming sleeker, lighter and carry higher capacity with faster charge capability. In the long-term, however, portable chargers might be replaced by both fast charging and wireless charging.

Photo: Power banks and related products sold in a Bangkok department store.
Power banks and related products sold in a Bangkok department store.
Photo: Wireless Charging products displayed in the department store.
Wireless Charging products displayed in the department store.

Smartphones Push Wireless Chargers Demand

As more and more consumer electronics become modern life essentials, the wires that come with each electronic item can run all over the place, cluttering up spaces and creating potential hazards. Nobody likes cluttered wires, so wireless charging offers a timely solution. Thanks to the popularity of glass-backed phones, like the Galaxy S8, LG V30, and iPhone X, wireless charging is now more prominent. Some restaurants in ASEAN are already putting wireless charger mats on their tables.

It is expected that the ASEAN market will see a lot more smartphones with wireless charging support. Wireless chargers are soon to become mainstream with the increase in smartphones providing wireless charging.

Portable Electronic Devices Require Huge Storage

Today, young people in ASEAN love to take pictures or listen to music with their mobile phones, which require large memory storage space. Even if a smartphone come with 64GB of internal storage, that space can fill up fast with many pictures, videos, games and apps.

To avoid inconvenience, portable electronic devices, such as digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers, tablets, portable media players, and video game consoles need a handy memory data card and flash drive. Some of the key features of memory cards include small size and the ability to retain data without a power supply. This allows them to fit into a variety of portable consumer devices.

With the unrelenting development of innovative applications and technologies, the demand for more memory space in smartphones and tablets is ever-increasing, the market will see a rise in mobile pen drives in the near future.

Virtual and Augmented Reality is the Next Big Thing

While the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) revolution is still in its infancy, both new technologies can already be found in mainstream consumer electronics and they are expected to drive the sales of electronic accessories in the future. In recent years, VR products, such as PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Samsung’s Gear VR have been on sale in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Local companies are also harnessing VR and AR technologies. For examples, an Indonesian multimedia educational company, Octagon Studio, uses AR and VR with mobile and wearable devices to produce AR educational flash cards and VR headsets. In Malaysia, the digital entertainment and technology company EXA Global, launched the family entertainment centre EXA Outpost in 2017. It is the first VR theme park in Southeast Asia, in which players engage in mission games with VR headsets.

Tourism Boom Drives New Travel Tech Gadgets

Buoyed by the expanding middle-class, improving infrastructure and the emergence of low-cost airlines, tourism across ASEAN is growing, with rising numbers of intra-regional travellers and foreign tourists. Today’s travellers want to stay connected, synced, fully charged during their trip. Whether a business traveller who needs to keep in touch with the office, or a backpacker in constant pursuit of more space for photography and videos, some essential travel tech gadgets and accessories can offer timely help.

Travellers are increasingly relying on smartphones, tablets, and other devices to take photos, look up directions, or communicate from long distances while travelling. The trouble is the battery life on many devices can’t keep up with user demands. This is where chargers, such as the USB World Traveller Adapter and external batteries come in.

The USB World Traveller Adapter wall charger offers a simple solution to charge electronics through a USB cable. The Chinese electronics company, Anker created a stand-alone battery pack that can charge any type of device with smart-sensing technology and a shake feature that displays the charging progress on the side of the block. Keeping a variety of devices powered up, these gadgets are popular among travellers.

[1] Source: Euromonitor International

[2] The smartphone is compatible with both Google’s Daydream virtual reality (VR) platform and Tango augmented reality (AR) technology.

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