Smartphones fly off the shelves all over India

Tags: News
Smartphones are flying off the shelves in India despite the economic slowdown, frozen salaries and inflationary pressure. And Indians are going for the biggest screen sizes in the 5.0 inch-6.99 inch range (phablets).

American market research firm International Data Corporation (IDC)’s APEJ quarterly mobile phone tracker shows 229 per cent, or three times, year-over-year growth in the Indian smartphone market in the December quarter of 2013.

Vendors shipped 12.8 million smartphones in Q3 of 2013 compared with 3.8 million sold in the same period of 2012. The quarter-on-quarter growth was close to 28 per cent. Showing sustained growth through the quarter, phablets contributed 23 per cent of total sales in terms of volume, IDC said.

“Demand for smartphones continues to drive the overall growth in the mobile phone market, and this trend is expected to continue over the next few quarters, as there is still a huge potential for smartphone penetration in India,” said Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst at IDC India.

The mobile phone market as a whole grew 12 per cent on year and 7 per cent quarter on quarter in Q3, with the feature phone category growing at a very slow pace of 3 per cent.

At the end of the December quarter, feature phones commanded 81 per cent of the total market.

Mobile users’ changing preference has resulted in international brands like Samsung and Nokia gaining further market share at the cost of the top local brands, Micromax and Karbonn.

Samsung and Nokia, riding a series of new launches, grabbed close to 30 per cent of the overall market in Q3.

“The narrowing price gap between feature phones and smartphones is the main agent driving this rapid shift in consumer preference towards smartphones. The smartphone market is expected to maintain these elevated levels of growth in the near future,” said Kiran Kumar, research manager at IDC India.

Five top brands – Samsung, Micromax, Karbonn, Nokia and Lava, in that order — account for a little over 70 per cent of the Indian smartphone market, with Samsung taking the lion’s share of 32.9 per cent, followed by Micromax at 17.1 per cent.

“This has not come as a surprise, as most people, especially youngsters, are in the forefront driving this demand for smartphone,” said Dilip Jethwani, proprietor of Chennai-based

The Mobile Galleria, which specialises in both wholesale and retail trade of top-end smartphones from Indian and global brands.

“Better phones, lower prices and easier availability of EMI options for six, 12 and 18 months for high-end phones are driving this boom. With finance options, it has become easy even for a middle-class person to go for an iPhone without batting an eyelid,” he says.

While Indian brands have been offering smartphones at lower price points for sometime now, global players like Samsung too have launched smartphones at prices starting at Rs 3,500.

But Jethwani said even phones priced anywhere between Rs 13,000 and Rs 25,000 were selling like hot cakes.

Another factor could be the popularity of the Android platform that most smartphones have adapted, as it makes usage easier on the fingers.

“The share of smartphones in India is forecast to grow to 50 per cent in two years from 18 per cent now.

The latest IDC data indicates that the market is keeping up with these estimates,” said B Nandakumar, head of retail operations with mobile handset retail chain UniverCell.

He said smartphones costing anywhere between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 are the most popular ones. “These are easily the most sought after with a wide range of models and brands to choose from.

The easy availability

of finance, coupled with distribution efforts and users’ desire to look smarter is driving this smartphone boom,” Nandakumar said.

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