India's smartphone market almost tripled in shipments on-year in the second quarter of 2013, according to IDC.
Vendors shipped a total of 9.3 million smartphones in the second quarter compared to 3.5 million units in the same period of 2012. Second-quarter shipments grew more than 50% over the units shipped in the first quarter of 2013. The 5.0-6.99-inch screen size smartphones (phablets) grew 17 times on year and the phablet share has steadily risen to 30% of the smartphone market in the second quarter.
As the largest feature phone market in APeJ (Asia Pacific excluding Japan) and second-largest for smartphones, India recorded a 21% growth on-year and a modest 4% growth on-quarter for total mobile phones, with the share of feature phones sliding further to make 85% of the total market in the second quarter of 2013.
While Samsung Electronics and Nokia still dominate the India market, their share has been steadily dropping, mainly driven by intense competition from local vendors. Among 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 the second quarter. 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 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," said 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 India market. Topped with an attractive sub-US$200 price tag, these smartphones are highly attractive," Kaur added. The share of sub-US$200 smartphones in the second quarter accounted for two-thirds of the total smartphone market.
Samsung maintained its leadership spot in the second quarter of 2013, 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 India 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 stayed steady in second spot and crossed the two million units mark in shipments. The 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.
The smartphone shipments for Karbonn have also increased steadily over the second quarter. Apart from the A-series of smartphone devices, the newly launched Titanium range is picking up in the market. These phones boast of high specifications at competitive prices, a must in the price-sensitive consumer market.
With the company's decision to discontinue Symbian devices, the entire focus of Nokia has moved to the 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 regained fifth position in the pecking order, with its mid-tier range of phones doing well, with the lower-end dual-SIM phones adding growth as affordable EMI options are available in the market through retailers.