India has become the second-biggest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone users, crossing 220 million users, surpassing the US market, according to a report by Counterpoint Research. “This speaks volumes for the scale [the] Indian market provides for any player in the mobile-connected ecosystem,” Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.
“Though India still has a long way to go as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 30 per cent. As a result, India continues to attract new smartphone brands every quarter adding to the more than 150 smartphone brands selling their devices in the country. Furthermore, government-driven initiatives such as Make in India and Digital India had gained momentum in 2015 to attract more players in the mobile value chain. Almost half of the total mobile phones shipped in India during the quarter were assembled in India, driving the Make in India trend. We estimate this trend to scale even faster and broader in 2016.”
Over 20 mobile phone brands are now assembling their parts in India, according to the research firm. Smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 15 per cent in the October-December quarter. During the calendar year 2015, Indian smartphone shipments grew 23 per cent year-on-year to cross 100 million units. Samsung led the overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment during the quarter, with market shares of 23.6 per cent and 28.6 per cent respectively.
For the entire year, Samsung retained the top slot with a market share of 19.8 per cent and 25.7 per cent in overall mobile phone market and smartphone market respectively.
Samsung also led the LTE smartphone segment during the quarter, followed by Lenovo. They occupied the same positions for the entire year. Micromax stood at the second position with 14.3 per cent share in the smartphone market, followed by the Lenovo-Motorola combine with 11.4 per cent share. Intex (9.6 per cent) and Lava (6.8 per cent ) stood at fourth and fifth positions respectively. Apple, which recently said India is a promising market, achieved a landmark of crossing two million units in a calendar year for the first time ever in India, led by a strong fourth quarter, Counterpoint said. The smartphone major still commands a miniscule two per cent volume share of smartphones, though making up in terms of revenue share to be the third-largest brand during the year. This reflects the power of Apple’s brand equity and its control over the high-value and high-profit premium segment.
During the quarter, Microsoft lost its place among the top five brands for the first time ever, as Lumia shipments declined sequentially and annually. More than one in two smartphones shipped during the quarter were LTE smartphone, Counterpoint said.
The firm said that the decline in the average selling price of LTE-capable smartphones is boosting the growing demand for ‘future-proof’ LTE-capable phones. It expects that LTE services uptake from the growing Indian smartphone user base will be much faster than what the 3G uptake rate has been. “The Indian smartphone demand grew strongly during the holiday season in the Q4 2015 quarter. However, the consumer demand waned since mid-November leading to smartphone shipments decline 11 per cent sequentially. However, LTE shipments grew sequentially, as more than one in two smartphone shipped was LTE capable,” Pavel Naiya, research analyst at Counterpoint Research, said.
The shipments grew a healthy 15 per cent annually in the October-December quarter