Rise In Affordability Makes Smartphones More Popular

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 14, 2014


India’s smartphone shipments rose over 219% to 14.5 million units in January-March this year, affordability being the key driver behind its growth, according to research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR). The country’s smartphone shipments reached 6.6 million units during the same period last year, CMR said in a statement.

However, smartphone shipments rose a mere 1.9% from the October-December quarter in 2013 when sales reached 14.2 million units, says the report, owing to greater discounts and attractive schemes and offers. Feature phone shipments declined by 6.5% to 44.4 million units in the first quarter this year from 47.5 million in the first quarter of 2013. Over the past quarter, the fall was more pronounced at 21.1% from 56.2 million units in October-December 2013.

A recent IDC report released this month also revealed that not only in India, but globally too smartphone shipments rose in the first quarter of 2014. The rise in global shipment of smartphones is in fact attributed to emerging markets such as India, China, Indonesia and Brazil to name a few, apart from strong wireless network and availability of low-cost devices.

Emerging markets: A driving force

Smartphones are becoming extremely popular in emerging markets and are touted as the “first affordable means of computing” for these markets, says IDC Research Manager Mobile Phone team Ramon Llamas. These are markets where average personal income is far less than in developed markets, and therefore vendors have been forced to create smartphone computing experiences for the low end of the market.

Emerging markets are clearly the focus for smartphone makers in recent times. While companies such as Samsung, Nokia (now acquired by Microsoft) and even Apple are gung-ho about markets such as India, China, Indonesia and Brazil (offering low-cost phones and attractive schemes/offers), there are multitudes of domestic brands as well that are competing with the global smartphone companies – and are offering smartphones at highly competitive rates.

The CMR report also sees as many as 68.3% of the smartphones shipped in the country during Q1 CY 2014 were 3G-enabled. In smartphones, Samsung (43.2%) lead the race followed by local handset players Micromax (17.5%) and Karbonn (5.2%) at the second and third spots, respectively. Overall in mobile phones, Samsung continued to be the leader grabbing 20% of the market share, followed by Nokia (17.6%) and Micromax (11.2%).

Paving the way for 4G

While 3G-enabled smartphones continue to dominate the Indian scene, IDC sees a phenomenal jump by mobile users who are rapidly switching over to smartphones, witnessing a boost in 4G network base globally. The trend is expected to catch up in India too.

Another report by global telecom body GSMA states that 4G-LTE connections across the world is forecast to pass one billion by 2017 of which the Asian market will account for over 47% of all 4G connections – driven mainly by India and China, further highlighting that smartphone shipments will see a year-on-year growth over the next 5 years.