Sony Overtakes Apple; Becomes India's No.2 Smartphone Brand

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 04, 2014

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Sony has overtaken its rival Apple to become the second largest smartphone brand in India in value sales. Sony’s strong position can be largely attributed to its strategy to focus on the Rs 10,000-20,000 smartphone space, backed by Rs 300-crore marketing spend, believe experts. According to latest data from market tracker IDC, Sony garnered 9.1% value share in the Indian smartphone market in the October-December quarter of 2013 against Apple’s 7% share. Samsung dominated the market with 43% value share.

The IDC report states that Sony’s strong position in the mid-tier smartphone market has delivered the company with these results. “Some of the top selling models for Sony are Xperia M Dual and Xperia C priced in this bracket, which is one of the fastest growing segments in the Indian smartphone market,” said Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst at IDC.

Apple losing its second spot to Sony substantiates the company’s decision to withdraw the iPhone 4 from the market. This decision meant that the company had no device in the Rs 20,000 price bracket, allowing Sony to overtake it, believe experts.

“While this loss of sales prompted Apple to relaunch iPhone 4 once again in India in January, sales have not picked up since it is not at all spending on marketing or offering any buyback offer and even the initial euphoria around iPhone 5S has sobered down,” said a CEO of a leading phone retail chain to TOI.

Sony however is nowhere near being clear of its competition, and in fact the company’s share in the Indian smartphone market slid in the January – March quarter of 2014. The biggest reasons seen behind this are Nokia’s foray into the Android device market with its X series of low-cost smartphones, and Micromax rolling out a new range of Canvas phones, says the TOI report.

India is one of very few markets where Sony has found success in selling smartphones. The company’s Indian smartphone arm earned it similar revenues to its flagship television business in FY-14, and the two divisions together made up over 70% of Sony’s overall revenue (about Rs 10,000 crore) in India.

“However, smartphone business will overtake television business in sales this fiscal year,” said Kenichiro Hibi, MD at Sony India, according to the report. “For us, both television and smartphone will be the main pillars to continue the pace of growth in India.” He added that the smartphone business doubled in last one year which led to 20% growth in overall sales in 2013-14. “We expect to grow at a similar pace this fiscal as well to touch Rs 12,000 crore sales,” he said.

Meanwhile, Indian brands such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava have garnered significant shares in the smartphone volume sales. While Samsung had 38% market share by unit sales in the October-December quarter, Micromax is second with 13% share. Sony’s volume share was 5.5% while Apple’s was 2%.