India smartphone sales surge almost 3-fold to 44m in 2013

Smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by a strong uptake of affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn, research firm IDC said today.

Smartphone shipments 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 homegrown vendors, which have shown a tremendous and consistent growth over the past four quarters of 2013," IDC said in a statement.

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

Overall phone shipments in the country rose 18 per cent 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 per cent share in Q4 2013, followed by Micromax (13 per cent), Nokia (12 per cent), Karbonn (10 per cent) and Lava (6 per cent).

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 per cent 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 per cent year-on-year.

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