Smartphone sales continue to grow in Southeast Asia, with 18 million units consumed for nearly 4.2 billion USD in the first quarter of 2014, representing respective increases of 43 percent and 25 percent over the same period last year, reports market research company GfK.

GfK said in a statement on June 5 that smartphones constituted 55 percent in the seven markets of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are the top three growth markets in terms of sales volume, increasing 68 percent, 59 percent and 45 percent, respectively, for the reviewed period.

Gerard Tan, Account Director for Digital World at GfK Asia, attributed the strong showing in Vietnam and Thailand to the introduction of 3G services last year and penetration by Chinese and local brands into the smartphone market of emerging markets with very attractively priced models to appeal to the low-end segment.

Smartphones priced lower than 100 USD each accounted for more than 30 per cent of Q1 sales value, he said.

Meanwhile, more than 1.1 million phablets were sold for a total of 567 million USD, GfK said, with Malaysia and Indonesia being the biggest markets.

Phablet sales could grow even bigger in the coming quarters as several popular international brands have officially announced the launch of a number of flagship models in the next two quarters of this year, Tan said.-VNA