Southeast Asians are coming into the smartphone world in droves, increasingly picking up phones with big screens and loaded with Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android operating system, according to a recent report.

In studying Southeast Asia, market research firm GfK reports that sales for smartphones grew 61% over the past 12 months ending in March. That translated to more than 16 million more units sold, for 42.2 million units in total, with a total increase of $3.4 billion to more than $11 billion.

Sales of smartphones with display sizes of 4.5 inches and above made up 20% of the total market. And the segment is growing. The Android operating system is becoming increasingly popular, accounting for seven in 10 smartphones.

GfK Asia notes that growth in the region was driven primarily by "affordable smartphones," costing around $100 to $200. However, local brands grew their market share in the budget range of $50 to $100. 

Indonesia contributed the most to smartphone sales revenue and volume. As the fourth most populous country in Southeast Asia, it saw a 37% increase in overall volume sales, with 15.8 million units. 

Smartphone adoption varied across the countries: Indonesia grew 30%, the Philippines 146%, and Vietnam 118%.

Gerard Tan, account director for Digital World at GfK Asia, said: "Given that there is a substantial two-thirds of the region's population who have yet to make the switch, there is still a sizable potential market for manufacturers to capture and convert to smartphones users. Consumers in the developing regions will continue to be the driving force of the smartphone sector's strong double- or even triple-digit growth performance in the coming years."


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