In Asia's trend-setting cities, iPhone fatigue sets in

Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:29pm EST
 
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By Jeremy Wagstaff

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Apple Inc's iconic iPhone is losing some of its luster among Asia's well-heeled consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong, a victim of changing mobile habits and its own runaway success.

Driven by a combination of iPhone fatigue, a desire to be different and a plethora of competing devices, users are turning to other brands, notably those from Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, eating into Apple's market share.

In Singapore, Apple's products were so dominant in 2010 that more devices here ran its iOS operating system per capita than anywhere else in the world.

But StatCounter gs.statcounter.com, which measures traffic collected across a network of 3 million websites, calculates that Apple's share of mobile devices in Singapore - iPad and iPhone - declined sharply last year. From a peak of 72 percent in January 2012, its share fell to 50 percent this month, while Android devices now account for 43 percent of the market, up from 20 percent in the same month last year.

In Hong Kong, devices running Apple's iOS now account for about 30 percent of the total, down from about 45 percent a year ago. Android accounts for nearly two-thirds.

"Apple is still viewed as a prestigious brand, but there are just so many other cool smartphones out there now that the competition is just much stiffer," said Tom Clayton, chief executive of Singapore-based Bubble Motion www.bubblemotion.com, which develops a popular regional social media app called Bubbly.

Where Hong Kong and Singapore lead, other key markets across fast-growing Asia usually follow.

"Singapore and Hong Kong tend to be, from an electronics perspective, leading indicators on what is going to be hot in Western Europe and North America, as well as what is going to take off in the region," said Jim Wagstaff, who runs a Singapore-based company called Jam Factory www.jamfactoryonline.com developing mobile apps for enterprises.   Continued...

 
Commuters use their smartphones in a train in Singapore January 26, 2013. REUTERS/Edgar Su