Demand for smartphones in Thailand is soaring, according to a new report by market research firm GfK Asia. Almost 3 million smartphones were sold in just the first four months of this year. Demand is particularly strong in Isaan, where sales have more than tripled in the last year. Thailand is now the second largest Southeast Asian market for smartphones after Indonesia, and GfK expects the country to experience at least 70% sales growth in 2014. However, the report states that despite the growth in smartphone usage, there has not been much of an increase in e-commerce or in online news. Rather, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are gaining in popularity.
Nokia will launch its Asha 501 smartphone in Thailand and Pakistan this week. The company said that the usability of the Asha 501 is simple, fast and intuitive. The Asha will have two main screens: Home, which is the main application launcher; and Fastlane, which displays recent activity along with upcoming events, multi-tasking options, and integration with Facebook and Twitter. The phone is available in a number of bright colors and will feature a removable shell and scratch-resistant, tempered glass display.
Thais spend around 16 hours per week on the internet, compared with just 10 hours watching TV, according to Ariya Banomyong, country manager for Google Thailand. However, TV media still accounts for 69% of Thai ad spending, while online ad revenue is only 3% of total ad spending, and mobile ads are less than 1%, according to the Digital Advertising Association of Thailand. The association said Thailand's online media spending should increase by 50% to 4.5 billion baht this year thanks to more widespread use of 3G. The sectors that spend the most on online ads are technology and mobile firms, automotive and tourism operators.