India Smartphone Growth Accelerates As Phablets Take Center Stage
By 2017, India will replace the USA to become the second largest smartphone market after China, says International Data Corporation (IDC).
The potential for smartphone growth in India is huge as the smartphone share of overall mobile phone shipments in India in 2013 Q2 was the lowest in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ).
IDC expects that smartphone average selling price (ASP) in India will fall below US$200 by end of this year as consumers gravitate towards low-cost 3G or 2.5G smartphones, which will further stimulate smartphone adoption.
According to IDC, the India smartphone market almost tripled its shipments year over year (YoY) in the second quarter of 2013 Q2 (2Q13). Vendors shipped a total of 9.3 million smartphones in 2Q13 compared to 3.5 million units in the same period of 2012.
2Q13 grew by more than 50% over the units shipped in the first quarter of 2013 (1Q13). The 5.0-6.99 inch screen size smartphones, or phablets, grew 17 times YoY and the phablet share has steadily risen to 30% of the smartphone market in 2Q13.
The overall mobile phone market had a 21% growth YoY and a modest 4% growth quarter over quarter (QoQ) with the share of feature phones sliding further to make 85% of the total market in 2Q13.
While Samsung and Nokia still dominate the Indian market, their share has been steadily dropping driven by intense competition from local vendors. Amongst the local vendors, most of the bigger ones have successfully transitioned their lead in feature phones to smartphones, including Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, Intex and Celkon.
"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 2Q13. These vendors have been scaling up operations owing to rising migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones," says Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.
"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," says Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst with IDC's Client Devices group.
"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-US$200 price tag, these smartphones are highly attractive," she adds. The share of sub-US$200 smartphones in 2Q13 accounted for two-thirds of the total smartphone market.
Top Five Smartphone Vendor Highlights
Samsung: Samsung maintained its leadership spot in 2Q13, with the newly launched Samsung Galaxy Star bringing in huge volumes at the low end. The other mid-tier smartphones also helped Samsung cater to the wide range of smartphone consumers in the Indian market. The cash-back and zero percent interest Equated Monthly Installment (EMI) schemes have worked in favor of Samsung over the last quarter, specifically for products such as the Galaxy Note II.
Micromax: Micromax stayed steady at No. 2 spot and crossed the 2 million units mark in shipments. This vendor is banking on the wave of phablet-driven smartphone adoption and is pushing the Canvas range of devices with bigger screens and compelling imaging capabilities.
Karbonn: The smartphone shipments for Karbonn have also increased steadily over the last quarter. Apart from the A series of smartphone devices, the newly launched Titanium range are picking up in the Indian market. These phones boast of high specifications at competitive prices, a must in the price-sensitive Indian consumer market.
Nokia: With the company's decision to discontinue Symbian devices, the entire focus has moved to the Windows Phone-based Lumia range of smartphones. The recently launched Lumia 520 helped Nokia pick up volumes towards the lower end. The dedicated advertising and marketing push towards positioning Lumia phones as a quicker and cooler replacement to other brands is working in its favor.
Sony: Sony regained fifth position in the pecking order, with its mid-tier range of phones doing well, with the lower-end dual SIM phones are adding growth as are affordable EMI options available in the market through retailers.