Indian mobile-phone sales have dropped for the first time in 20 years, raising the question: Is a slowdown at hand for the world's fastest-growing smartphone market?
Mobile sales dropped 14.5% in Q1 (January to March) 2015, on a quarter-to-quarter basis, compared to Q4 (October to December) 2014; from 62 million handsets in Q4 2014 to 53 million handsets in Q1 2015, according to a recent press release from CyberMedia Research, a consultancy.
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The decline in smartphone sales from quarter-to-quarter was 7.14%. Cheaper "feature" phones performed worse, with an 18.3% sales decline over the same period.
Is this a Cyclical issues or a larger problem? Do these data indicate that India's mobile-phone growth is topping out? Experts believe cyclical glitches account for the downturn in mobile-phone sales: Unexciting phones, tax issues, increased competition and even extended Chinese new-year festivities.
"With major announcements of new handsets and entry of some new brands happening in a big way in Q4 2014, there wasn't really something very exciting in the market for customers that could push up sales in Q1 2015," said Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, Telecom Research at CyberMedia.
India became the fastest-growing market for smartphones in Asia-Pacific in 2014, and is supposed to overtake US as the second-largest smartphone market globally, with 204 million smartphone users by 2016, according to a study by eMarketer, a research firm.