Apple's iPhone is marching across Southeast Asia

"Apple’s shipments surged 139% YoY in Q3 2022 as more consumers in Vietnam bought premium smartphones." -- Counterpoint Research

Three headlines from a Counterpoint note that landed on my desktop Friday:

Apple’s shipments surged 139% YoY in Q3 2022 as more consumers in Vietnam bought premium smartphones. The iPhone 11, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max were among the most preferred models during the quarter. Apple distributors are opening more official stores in Vietnam, which is helping the brand reach more customers.

Apple led the premium market with an impressive 53% YoY increase in shipments. Apple’s earlier models went off the shelves swiftly in July and August, while there was an increase in shipments in September following the launch of the iPhone 14 series

We are optimistic about Q4 2022 as the holiday season arrives. The popularity of premium smartphones will be an advantage, and the recently launched iPhone 14 series will boost Apple’s shipments.

My take: Who's old enough to remember the domino theory? I'm listening to the final chapters of Barbara Tuchman's "The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam" and it's breaking my heart.


  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. Manufacturing activities have helped Vietnam in creating jobs and increasing economic growth, which in turn has increased consumers’ buying power. As OEMs are increasingly preferring Vietnam as a manufacturing hub, more companies are likely to expand their presence in the country, which in turn will foster economic growth.”

    Merci beaucoup Counterpoint Research for the above lagniappe this morning as Christmas approaches in the bayou country. Apple’s presence in developing nations is undeveloped, but now is beginning to evolve. Little different than what we witnessed with the introduction of capitalism in China, we now will see in Vietnam and other developing nations where global commerce will facilitate growth and prosperity for citizens of these countries to purchase new and refurbish Apple products. These countries remain untapped fully. The smartphone market is not saturated. We shall see economic prosperity affording citizens who never owned a smartphone obtain one. Once they do, then they are in the Apple ecosystem going forward.

    December 9, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      Slightly off topic, but I’ve been wondering for the last couple of years whether the Chinese political model, of economic capitalism coupled with one-state rule, is a potential end-state in opposition to the West’s economic capitalism and liberal democracy. For a long time, we’ve assumed that liberal democracy is the preferred end-state for societies, but it’s not clear to me that’s true. It’s ONE end-state, but there may well be others. And that of course sets up the potential for continuing conflict between conflicting end-states, even with economic cooperation (as we see between US and China now.)

      December 9, 2022
      • Fred Stein said:
        Good question. Yes, seriously OT. That said, the rise (or return) of nationalism in many forms helps explain what’s going on. Caveat: no single thesis, be it nationalism or liberal capitalism, suffices.

        Even more OT: I recommend Timothy Snyder’s lecture series on Ukraine (see youtube for all 20). Other scholars are chiming in.

        December 9, 2022
      • Bart Yee said:
        Very good question. IMO, it all depends on whether the people know, learn about and understand what types of governmental and economic models there are, whether those models can be introduced or tried, and most importantly, whether the people are given any say (or votes) to change what they have into what they may want.

        The biggest impediment to change or progression from one to another is, as always, the desire of those (men) in current power to wish to remain in power (because it benefits them or their power base, not necessarily the people). They will cling to power, fight tooth and nail to find ways to remain in power, even suspend or change Constitutions (Thailand) and laws so that even elections can be biased (gerrymandering, voter suppression, etc.), all to retain the status quo, IMO.

        And/or (no pun intended but it does ironically apply), in the words of Grand Moff Tarkin:
        “Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station (or government, secret police, military, etc.)”

        December 9, 2022
  2. Michael Goldfeder said:
    @PED: The domino theory is being exploited by Apple according to the talking heads and pundits. I can just see the headlines rolling in from the Apple trolls.

    December 9, 2022
  3. Lalit Jagtap said:
    Our world has become digitally flat due to penetration of affordable smartphones and internet. The standard of living is rising up fast in the Asia, where more than worlds half population lives and its is diverse and young. It is obvious to see the aspirational brand like Apple, which will keep growing more and more in the Asia.
    Honestly as an American I am less worried about China, and more worried about our own democracy. I hope reasonable laws are passed by Congress to hold individuals and media companies accountable for reporting lies.

    December 9, 2022
  4. Bart Yee said:
    Isn’t it amazing that Apple products can flourish with the people of such diverse nations, cultures, religions, and, ahem, governmental systems and leaders?

    While Androids are majority due in no small measure to lower costs, once people reach a level of prosperity and can choose how they spend discretionary income, Apple products become a very viable and desirable option / choice.

    If and when more countries, through their people’s hard work, become more prosperous, so too will Apple’s markets and popularity. I see continued growth for Apple in this view.

    Funny how not long ago US analysts were saying the smartphone (and PC) markets were saturated and mature and Apple had no more growth options. Then Apple introduced iPad, Watch, Mac with Apple Silicon, AirTags, Apple Pay, and expanded Services which embrace international content and flavors.

    We already know the US/NA market is only 40-45% of total revenue, the rest is international. Growth internationally will further increase.

    December 9, 2022
    • David Emery said:
      There is some measure by which the iPhone is the world’s most significant aspirational purchase. (Maybe something measured by price x number of choices?) Mercedes cars might well lead in a different measure. I’m sure there are economists who have ways to measure this.

      But certainly where iPhones cost more than alternatives with similar core functionality, that represents a choice to spend more money made by a HUGE number of people for a single company’s product line.

      December 9, 2022

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