Smartphone sales in Malaysia last year hit 8.5 million, but growth may have peaked as unit sales increased just 3 per cent from 2013.
Falling prices also meant that total consumer spend dropped 4 per cent to MYR8.74 billion ($2.66 billion).
The average selling price of smartphones in the country fell from MYR1,106 ($351) in 2013 to MYR1,031 last year, according to research firm GfK.
The $150-$200 segment now accounts for 16 per cent of smartphone sales, up from 10 per cent in 2013.
“An influx of strong new players presented an even wider array of more affordable options for consumers,” said Selinna Chin, managing director for GfK in Malaysia.
She said a GfK consumer survey found nearly half of all respondents indicated that price is the most important deciding factor when choosing a phone.
The country’s smartphone penetration has soared in recent years, expanding in 2014 more than 10 percentage points to over 50 per cent at Maxis and Digi (the country’s number two and three operators). Celcom lags with a 41 per cent smartphone adoption rate, according to GSMA Intelligence.
Demand for large-screen smartphones (4.1 to 7 inches) increased 19 per cent, making it the fastest growing segment. Android phones accounted for 90 per cent of sales – up from 85 per cent the previous year.
Thirty per cent of smartphones sold were LTE-enabled models, GfK found. That is almost double the percentage in 2013.