The Indian smartphone market almost tripled its shipments year on year (YoY) in the second quarter of 2013. Vendors shipped a total of 9.3 million smartphones in the quarter, in comparison to 3.5 million units shipped in the year before quarter. In 2013 alone, the second quarter grew by more than 50 per cent over the units shipped in the first quarter, led by the 5.0 - 6.99 inch screen size smartphones or phablets, as we call them.
These devices grew 17 times YoY and their share steadily rose to almost one-third (30 per cent) of the total smartphone market in Q2 2013, according to a report by International Data Corporation (IDC). As the largest feature phone market in APeJ (Asia Pacific except Japan) and second largest for smartphones, India recorded a 21 per cent growth YoY and a 4 per cent growth quarter over quarter (QoQ) for total mobile phones. Feature phones constituted of 85 per cent of the total market in Q2 2013.
Local vendors shine
While big guys like Samsung and Nokia still dominated the Indian market, their share has been steadily dropping, mainly driven by intense competition from local vendors. Among the local vendors, most of the larger ones (like Micromax, Karbonn, Intex and Lava, etc.) have successfully transitioned their lead in feature phones to smartphones. In fact, they accounted for over half of the total smartphone market in the quarter.
"The growth in the India smartphone market is driven by consistent performance by local vendors who accounted for more than half of the total smartphone market in Q2 2013. These vendors have been scaling up operations owing to rising migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones," said Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst at IDC India.
Micromax taking the battle to Samsung
Samsung maintained its leadership spot in the second quarter, with the newly launched Galaxy Star bringing in huge volumes at the low end. The other mid-tier smartphones, the cash-back, and zero per cent interest equated monthly installment (EMI) schemes also worked in favor of Samsung over the last quarter, specifically for high end products like Galaxy Note II.
However, Micromax stayed steady at the number two spot and the company crossed the two million units mark in shipment numbers. While Samsung led with a 26 per cent market share, Micromax closely followed with a 22 per cent share. The homegrown vendor is banking on the wave of phablet-driven smartphone adoption and is pushing its Canvas range of devices, with bigger screens and better imaging capabilities.
Top five vendors in the country
Along with Samsung and Micromax, vendors like Karbonn, Nokia and Sony completed the list of the top five players.
Karbonn: Smartphone shipments for Karbonn increased steadily over the last quarter, and apart from its 'A' series of smartphone devices, the newly launched Titanium range are also picking up. What's worked for the company is the fact that its devices boast of high specifications at competitive prices, a must have in a price-sensitive consumer market like India.
Nokia: With the company's decision to discontinue Symbian devices, the entire focus moved to Lumia range of smartphones. The recently launched Lumia 520 helped Nokia pick up volumes towards the lower end.
Sony: The company regained the fifth position, with its mid-tier range of phones doing well, and the lower-end dual SIM phones adding growth.
"The key for growth in this market, as with most emerging markets, is a low-priced phone equipped with a large screen and dual SIM slots. The dual SIM phenomena, which had accelerated the growth of local vendors in feature phone, turned to dual SIM smartphones flooding the Indian market. Topped with an attractive sub $200 price tag, these smartphones are highly attractive," said Kiranjeet Kaur, senior market analyst at IDC's client devices group.
This was evident from the fact that sub $200 smartphones accounted for two-thirds of the total smartphone market in the second quarter.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)