Shipment of premium handsets (Rs 30,000 or above) is likely to touch 5-million mark this year in India, accounting for 3.5-4 per cent of the total smartphones shipped, according to CyberMedia Research (CMR).
About 3.3 million premium devices were shipped in 2015, of the total 96.4 million smartphones shipped during the period, CMR said in a report. This accounted for 3.4 per cent of the total smartphone shipment, it added. Samsung, Apple and Sony Mobile were the top three premium brands.
"This is an encouraging indicator that the premium segment is exhibiting such growth. As the Indian market moves from a volume game to value market, premium segment becomes significant for the industry where you sell lesser units for higher value," CMR Lead Analyst Telecoms Faisal Kawoosa said.
To mark the next level of growth, Indian mobile handset brands need to leverage the premium segment as the units market shrinks, he added.
Interestingly, across operating systems, merely 13 per cent of the devices were shipped with the latest version of the OS. "Unfortunately, so far none of the Indian brands have been able to establish itself in the premium segment.
While their focus continues to be the affordable price points of smartphones, it is high time they start foraying into the premium segment as well," CMR Analyst Telecoms Krishna Mukherjee said. The report said Apple will benefit most from this growth owing to its strong positioning as a premium segment brand.
"However, the recent launch of iPhoneSE will not be the centre-piece for Apple's growth in India. It would be challenging for Android to keep its supremacy in OS in this segment despite several vendors committed to it," it added. This will essentially amplify, if and when, the Indian brands foray into the premium smartphones category, it said.