ARE MALAYSIANS INTERESTED IN THE NEW IPHONES?

IN 2016, it was estimated that Malaysian consumers spent more than RM6.8 billion (US$1.27 billion) to purchase smartphones.

Mobile phones have played a huge role in most Malaysians’ daily life to an extent that three out of five consumers say they cannot imagine life without it.

As such, it is the norm for Malaysians to always be on the look-out for the newest technologies that would further enhance their quality of life.

This was evident as there was a big surge of search interest on Google as Apple launched their new iPhones.

Though Apple received a somewhat a mediocre response when the phones were released in Australia and Canada, Malaysians have constantly searched for the latest news, reviews and prices of the new iPhone.

To analyse the interest in iPhones, iPrice Group conducted a study through Google Trends to find out if Malaysians are interested in the new models.

By analysing search interest between Sept 12 and 18, peak interest with the keywords “iPhone X” and “iPhone 8” appeared as early as 3am on Sept 13 when the announcement of the new smartphones was live-streamed from California.

The second surge of search interest appeared at around 7am. But when compared, search interest at 3am was much higher than 7am suggesting that many Malaysians stayed up late to witness the live announcement.

We conducted a similar study in Malaysia’s neighbouring countries and found that search interest differed when compared to IndonesiaVietnam and Thailand.

While search interest on the prices of iPhone X and iPhone 8 was most popular in Malaysia, consumers in the neighbouring countries had a higher interest in the prices of Apple’s previous smartphone models such as the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7.

This is reflective of Malaysia’s economy as it currently ranks third (in GDP per capita) in Southeast Asia, suggesting that Malaysians were more interested in the new smartphones because they were more likely able to afford the new smartphones when compared to consumers in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand.

When comparing search interest between iPhone’s ‘plus’ models, Malaysians were more interested in the prices the iPhone 7 Plus than the iPhone 8 Plus.

Though Apple has yet to announce the price of the iPhone 8 Plus prior to its Oct 20 launch, it was recently revealed that the pre-order price of the 64GB variant would be RM4,149.

Apple also lowered the prices of their previous models the same day the new iPhones were launched.

The iPhone 7 Plus (128GB) is now priced at RM3,849 and is cheaper than the iPhone 8 Plus by RM300.

iPrice’s findings in Google Trends suggest that Malaysian consumers were less interested in the iPhone 8 Plus and would prefer the iPhone 7 Plus as it would come at a cheaper price and with larger storage space.

In addition to this, consumers who are able to afford the iPhone 8 Plus might opt to wait for the launch of the more advanced iPhone X in Malaysia as it is estimated to cost RM4,999 based on Apple’s launch in Singapore recently.

Malaysians uninterested in FaceID and Animoji

Apple’s iPhone X’s bezel-less screen offers the biggest visual change from their standard smartphone look and this resonated well with Malaysians.

Along with the keyword ‘iPhone’, keywords such as ‘screen’ and ‘camera’ were the two most popular terms in Malaysia between Sept 12 and 18.

With leaks from various sources, news of Apple’s bezel-less smartphone had been making waves in Malaysia and the momentum of this interest continued for days after its launch.

In 2014, Time Magazine revealed that George Town (Penang) and Petaling Jaya (Selangor) were among the top five ‘Selfiest City in The World’.

The study was based on a database of more than 400,000 Instagram images tagged as ‘selfie’ that included geographical coordinates.

The two Malaysian cities were ranked alongside locations such as Manhattan (NY), Manchester (England) and Milan (Italy).

On the other hand, Malaysians were less interested in the new iPhone’s charging, Animoji and FaceID. Features such as FaceID and wireless charging were previously available through more affordable Android smartphones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge or the OnePlus 5.

– https://www.digitalnewsasia.com

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