India beats US to become the second largest smartphone market: Counterpoint

India is now the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone users, beating the US.

Written by Shruti Dhapola | Updated: February 3, 2016 1:11 pm
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India is now the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone users, with the total base crossing 220 million users, says a new report from Counterpoint Research.

“India has inched past USA to become the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone user base in the world , with the total base crossing 220 million users,” said Tarun Pathak, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research. However he added that, “India still has a long way to go as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 30 per cent.”

The research firm’s data showed that in India LTE shipments reached 32 Million units in 2015, while smartphone shipments crossed 100 million for all of 2015. The last quarter saw smartphone shipments in India grow at 15 per cent annually.

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“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% sequentially. However, LTE shipments grew sequentially, as more than one in two smartphone shipped was LTE capable,” said Pavel Naiya, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

The research firm says that the growth of 4G LTE services will boost sales of smartphones in the country.

“With the declining ASP of LTE capable smartphones boosting the growing demand for the “future-proof” LTE capable phones, consumers and the industry have been waiting for the LTE services to go live. We estimate LTE services uptake from the growing Indian smartphone user base will be much faster than what the 3G uptake rate has been,” added Naiya.

Counterpoint data shows that more than one of two smartphones shipped during the quarter was LTE capable, and that one out of three was sold online. Interestingly almost half of the total mobile phones shipped in India during the quarter were assembled in India, adds the research firm.

In terms of vendor positions, Samsung remains on top for both overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment for the quarter, and the year. Samsung’s mid-budget J series helped ramp up sales, with J2 being the best-selling smartphone in India during the quarter, notes Counterpoint.

Micromax remains second in both overall mobile phone market, and the smartphone segment, but faces intense competition in $50-$100 price segment from other local brands. Counterpoint says that the home-grown player has seen a decline in shipments during the quarter, even as its new YU brand crossed 2 million units for 2015.

Intex was number third in the overall market, but in the smartphone market, Lenovo has grabbed the spot place. Intex, however ended 2015 as the third largest smartphone vendor with a market share of 10.4 per cent driven by growth in entry level smartphones. Lenovo, which stood at number three in the smartphone market for the first time ever in India, had a share of 11 per cent in the quarter.

Meanwhile Apple is now the he third largest brand in terms of revenue, even though its volume share is a mere 2 per cent. Also the Cupertino-based technology giant shipped 2 million units in 2015, which is a first ever for the company in India. Other Chinese players that grew in India during Q4 were Oneplus, Coolpad and Meizu, says Counterpoint.