India’s mobile handset market remained flat in calendar year 2009 to register sales of 101.54 million units, mainly due to lower sales in the first six months (January—June), according to research firm IDC.

Finnish handset maker Nokia had the largest share of 54.1 per cent in terms of units sold during 2009. Korean companies Samsung with a 9.7 per cent share and LG with a 6.4 per cent share for the year ended December 31, 2009 were at number two and number three spots, respectively.

The market showed signs of revival in the fourth quarter (October—December) of 2009 to record a year—on—year (4Q 2009 over 4Q 2008) growth of 2.3 per cent to touch 28.36 million units, according to IDC India.

Overall, for the year 2009 new vendors registered a combined market share of 12.3 per cent in terms of total India mobile handset sales.

The number of such new vendors in the India mobile handsets market grew to 28 and they together garnered 17.5 per cent of the total sales for the first time during the October—December 2009 quarter. This represented a steady growth from only five new vendors representing a 0.9 per cent combined share of units sold in the January—March 2008 quarter.

According to Naveen Mishra, Lead Analyst, Mobile Handsets Research, IDC India, “The mobile handsets market got even more crowded and fragmented at the lower - and mid-market segments with the rise of ‘copycat’ models that have looks and aesthetics resembling those of high-end smartphones. These ’copycat’ look-alikes are often available for as little as one-tenth of the average sales value (ASV) of a smartphone.”

“This trend is expected to continue and the market will witness launch of more look-alikes following the launch of aspirational value smartphone models by major vendors. The adoption of these look-alikes is expected to be higher amongst the student and young executive segment whose purchase decisions are often driven by peer group and lifestyle influences as well as affordability”, IDC said.

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