Mobile device sales in India are forecast to reach 251 million units in 2013, a 13.5 per cent rise over 2012 sales of 221 million units. The mobile handset market is expected to show steady growth through 2016 when end-user sales will surpass 326 million units, according to a study by Gartner.

“The Indian mobile phone market is competitive with more than 150 device manufacturers selling devices to consumers. Most of these manufacturers remain focussed on the low-cost feature phone market, which still constitutes over 91 per cent of overall mobile phone sales, offering a huge market to compete in,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner.

“The increase in share of smartphone device sales, declining sales to first-time buyers and the continuous focus of global manufacturers on the low-cost feature phone market, has put many of the 150-plus local and Chinese device manufacturers in survival mode. Many of them are already struggling to maintain a share in the growing market,” Gupta added.

Some of these local and Chinese manufacturers are building capabilities, distribution and brands as they prepare to compete with the big global players at a larger level covering broader consumer segments.

Manufacturers such as ZTE, Micromax, Karbonn Mobile, Huawei stand at sixth, seventh and twelfth in the Indian smartphone market in 1H12 and are constantly expanding their smartphone portfolio to compete at a larger level, with big global manufacturers Samsung and Nokia, which held the first and second position respectively.

Samsung’s brand strength and wide device portfolio has allowed it to take advantage of the high growth opportunities in Indian market. Samsung’s share has risen from 15 per cent in the first quarter of 2011 to 49.8 per cent in 2Q12. If Samsung continues this strong growth, it could end 2012 with more than 60 per cent share — exactly where Nokia was at the start of 2011.

rajesh.kurup@thehindu.com

(This article was published on October 11, 2012)
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