Smartphone sales surges almost three-fold in India to 44 million
Moneylife Digital Team 26 February 2014

During the December quarter, Samsung maintained its leadership with a 38% share in the Indian smartphone market, followed by Micromax (16%), Karbonn (10%), Sony (5%) and Lava (4.7%), says IDC

Smartphone sales in India grew almost three-fold to over 44 million during 2013, buoyed by a strong uptake of affordable devices made by local companies such as Micromax and Karbonn.

 

According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), smartphone shipments in India stood at 16.2 million in 2012. "India was one of the fastest-growing countries worldwide in terms of smartphone adoption in 2013. This surge has been mainly powered by home-grown vendors, which have shown a tremendous and consistent growth over the past four quarters of 2013," IDC said in a release.

 

Korean player Samsung maintained its leadership with a 38% share of the Indian smartphone market, followed by Micromax (16%), Karbonn (10%), Sony (5%) and Lava (4.7%) in Q4 2013.

 

There was a remarkable migration from feature phones to smartphones last year, primarily because of the narrowing price gaps between the two product categories, it added.

 

According to IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. "Growth in the India market doesn't rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than $120," said Kiranjeet Kaur, senior market analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.

 

IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than $100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than $50.

 

Overall phone shipments in the country rose 18% to about 257 million units in 2013 from 218 million units in the previous year.

 

"Growth in the smartphone segment is expected to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localised product offerings," it said.

 

In the overall phone market, Samsung was the market leader with a 19% share in Q4 2013, followed by Micromax (13%), Nokia (12%), Karbonn (10%) and Lava (6%).

 

In the October-December 2013, vendors shipped 15.06 million smartphones compared with 5.35 million in Q4 2012. There was a spike in smartphone shipments by smaller domestic vendors such as Lava and Intex in the quarter.

 

"Growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones," IDC India senior market analyst Manasi Yadav said.

 

International vendors have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience, IDC India Research Manager Kiran Kumar said.

 

The 5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones (phablets) accounted for about 20% of the overall market in Q4.

 

The overall mobile phone market (feature and smart phones) stood at 67.83 million units in Q4 2013, up 16% year-on-year.

 

Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China, IDC said.

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