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India fastest growing smartphone market in Asia Pacific: IDC

Livemint:  November 27, 2014

New Delhi: India became the fastest-growing market for smartphones in Asia-Pacific in the three months ended 30 September, following festive demand, said a report by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) released on Wednesday.

The Indian smartphone market grew 82% from a year ago and 27% over the preceding quarter, making it the second consecutive quarter of more than 80% year-on-year shipment growth for smartphones.

There were 23.3 million smartphone handsets shipped in the reporting quarter, comprising 32.1% of the overall mobile phone market that touched 72.5 million units in the September quarter of 2014, recording a 9% growth from a year ago and 15% rise from the preceding quarter.

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd continued to be the market leader in the Asia-Pacific region with a 24% market share in the smartphone segment, even though its shipment growth was lower than the industry average, implying a contraction in the market share. The company has been trying to maintain its No. 1 position in the India market as it faces a "real possibility" of losing its position to home-grown brands, according to industry analysts.

Micromax Informatics Ltd, which on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with Intel Corp. for mobile devices, came second in the smartphone market witnessing another strong quarter. Its market share rose to 20% in the September quarter from 18% in the preceding quarter.

While Lava International Ltd remained one of the fastest-growing handset vendors grabbing the third spot with its two brands-Lava and Xolo, Karbonn Mobiles India Pvt. Ltd saw consistent growth with more than 85% of its shipment volume falling under sub $100.

Motorola Inc. also managed to retain its position among the top five vendors with its fresh line-up of second generation handsets that fared well for the company, the IDC report said.

In the overall mobile phone market, feature phone shipments recorded quarter on quarter growth of 10% in the September quarter. However, contribution of feature phones in in the overall mobile market saw a fall in growth by 9% as compared with the same period last year as a large number of users migrated to smartphones.

While Samsung and Micromax remained the largest and second-largest vendors in the overall mobile market respectively, Nokia Oyj, Lava International Ltd and Karbonn Mobiles India Pvt. Ltd filled the other three spots in the top five handset vendor list.

IDC anticipates moderate sequential growth quarter-on-quarter in 2015.

"With positive consumer sentiments and low levels of inflation, consumers will have more money to spend. Majority of the smartphone users change their phones within 12-24 months," said Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst at IDC India.

"With 44 million units shipped in CY (calender year) 2013 and the current market scenario hinting at 80 million plus shipment in CY 2014, we have a big chunk of end-user market which is awaiting refresh."

Phablets, the smartphones with 5.5-6.99 inches screen size, contributed 6% to the overall smartphone market.

On the other hand, smartphones with screen sizes between 4.5 and 5.5 inches are seen as the sweet spot for consumer preference, the report noted.

Kiran Kumar, research manager, client devices at IDC India, said the research firm expects the phablet segment to pick up again in 2015 with the expected 4G (fourth generation) roll out.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.