India overtook Japan to become the world’s third largest smartphone market by volume for the first time ever in the first quarter of this year with Samsung, Micromax and Apple among the major brands leading the market.

Research

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, an independent research firm, around 10 million smartphones were shipped in India during the first quarter, almost tripling from 3.8 million units a year earlier.

The market is led by China and the US right now.

“India is growing four times faster than the global average. Worldwide smartphone shipments expanded 39 per cent year-over-year, compared with 163 per cent year-on-year across India, during the period,” Neil Shah, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said.

The Indian smartphone market is rising quicker than China (86 per cent y-o-y), Japan (24 per cent y-o-y), the US (19 per cent y-o-y) and almost all other major countries, he said.

High growth market

“India is the new China. It is a low-penetration, high-growth market that no smartphone vendor, component maker or apps developer can afford to ignore,” Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said.

Apart from the foreign firms such as Samsung and Apple, domestic players such as Karbonn and Spice are growing between 200 and 500 per cent on an annual basis, apart from Micromax, he added.

“At Samsung, we have focused on consumer needs and brought in devices that have catered to those needs. Our R & D centres in India are helping us customise our offering by way of the applications or the hardware itself,” Vineet Taneja, Country Head, Samsung Mobiles and Digital Imaging business, told Business Line.

He said the company’s retail thrust with Samsung Smartphone Cafes, Samsung Plazas and Samsung Exclusive Zones and Inshop promoters are helping to redefine the consumers’ experience which would help keep the momentum.

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 28, 2013)
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