Smartphone shipment to India during July-September this year rose by 21.4 percent at 28.3 million units as against 23.3 million units during the same period last year, says an IDC report. According to the firm's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report, during the aforesaid months, the 4G-enabled devices witnessed almost a three-fold increase in unit shipments over the April-June period of this year.
Samsung emerged as the biggest 4G player in India with its popular sub-$150 LTE models such as Galaxy Grand Prime and Galaxy J2. "The growth in the smartphone market was helped by rising demand for affordable 4G smartphones.
e-tailers such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon continue to drive shipments of the Chinese vendors, who have been aggressively trying to capture the 4G smartphone market in India," Karthik J, senior market analyst, client devices at IDC, said in a statement. In addition, growth was also driven by phones with larger screens at low cost.
"Almost one out of every two smartphones sold, had 5-inch-plus displays," said Jaipal Singh, market analyst, client devices. Samsung continued to lead the Indian smartphone market with 13.1 percent sequential growth (quarter-on-quarter) during July-September 2015 over the last fiscal quarter of this year, and also overtook Lenovo as the top 4G vendor.
The volume growth was primarily contributed by the LTE-based smartphones such as Galaxy Grand Prime 4G, Galaxy J and Galaxy A series which mostly moved through the retail channels, although Samsung also had some e-tailer-focused phones such as Galaxy J5 and Galaxy J7. Micromax retained the second position with a 6.4 percent sequential growth (quarter-on-quarter).
YU Phones have been performing well and are leading contributors to Micromax's 4G portfolio. However, YU faces strong competition from Chinese players in the online segment. Intex has secured the third position with 9.4 percent growth. The vendor has witnessed sharp rise in shipments in sub US$50 segment and also entry level 3G-enabled devices.
Lenovo, as a group (Lenovo & Motorola), moved up to fourth place during July-September period owing to a strong 58.6 percent sequential growth (quarter-on-quarter). Lenovo group captured 9.5 percent of the smartphone market driven mainly by Lenovo's K3 note, A6000 plus and Moto G 3rd Gen.
The group also started local manufacturing of its smartphones in India to further strengthen their position in the Indian market. Lava, on the other hand, slipped to fifth place with a sequential drop of two percent in their vendor share when compared to the April-June months of 2015. Lava shipments dropped 24.9 percent sequentially (quarter-on-quarter), coming off from a healthy previous fiscal quarter.
While its Xolo series continues to slide down, Lava has also not moved fast enough to capitalize on the fast growing 4G market or diversified their channel strategy in favour of online channels, the report said. The IDC expects the share of smartphone to outstrip the share of feature phone market in 2016 for India. According to Kiran Kumar, research manager at IDC, "4G-enabled devices are expected to be at the forefront, with the entire ecosystem preparing for this shift in the near future".