India registered 221.6 million mobile handset shipments during 2012, according to CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2012, March 2013 release. During the same period, 15.2 million smartphones were shipped in the country.
A comparison of overall mobile handset shipments and featurephone shipments shows a direct correlation for the India mobile handsets market rankings. Market shares are somewhat similar for the top three players across the overall market and the featurephones segment, as shown in Table 2.
Commenting on the results, Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “Although we see a huge market ‘hype’ around smartphones, the fact remains that the India Mobile Handsets market is still dominated by shipments of featurephones. On the other hand smartphone shipments are growing fast. This indicates India is still a ‘new phone’ market, where featurephones contribute to the bulk of shipments compared to replacements or upgrades.
“This propensity on the part of Indian subscribers of mobile telephony services to purchase large numbers of featurephones has paved the way for the establishment of Indian brands, which are largely focused on this segment.”
India Smartphones Market
The India smartphones market during 2H 2012 saw a rise in shipments by 75.2 percent over and above the 1H 2012 number, taking the overall contribution of smartphones to 6.8% for the full year. In fact, during 2H 2012, smartphone shipments stood at 8.1 percent of the country’s total mobile handset shipments. While BlackBerry was at third spot during 1H 2012, Sony Mobiles displaced the former if we examine numbers for the full CY 2012.
Commenting on these results, Tarun Pathak, analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “The India smartphones segment has very distinct characteristics vis-à-vis the overall market. We believe the struggle for leadership in the India smartphones market is going to intensify through 2013 as vendors bring new form factors to market.
“Players such as Samsung, HTC and Sony Mobiles will increasingly try to establish leadership through differentiated offerings and by promising a ‘seamless’ experience across the four consumer screens – smartphone, tablet, PC and TV. At the same time, home grown vendors such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava will try to make a mark against their global competitors, by bringing to market powerful, yet attractively priced smartphones in an attempt to widen their appeal and grow the overall smartphone user base,” Tarun added.