This Year, Smartphones To Overtake Feature Phones In India

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 20, 2016

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Smartphones in India are expected to grow at 37 percent in 2016 as compared to 32 percent average growth for the previous three years, according to market research and consulting services firm CyberMedia Research (CMR). The research firm also expects the total units of smartphones to be shipped in India at 250 million this year, an increase 4 percent from 2015.

2016 would also be the first year for the Indian mobile market when the smartphone shipment would overtake the feature shipments. This would be possible due to the launch of 4G network in the country, and also due to the reducing price for a set of hardware specifications. The country will witness a huge influx of affordable 4G handsets in the current year, it says.

The total number of mobile phones sold in the country during the year 2015 stood at 239 million. This included 95 million smartphones and 144 million feature phones. The decline in feature phone shipments was 17 percent on an annual average basis, the research firm said.

CMR also expects 4G-enabled smartphone sales to cross 50 million in 2016, due to penetration into Tier II & Tier III cities, and the rural areas. Phone manufacturers would focus a lot on online sales but would also pay attention on improving their physical distribution channels.

The research states, three out of every 4 smartphones sold will be priced under Rs. 10,000, CMR predicts. Also, the sales of smartphones priced below Rs. 5,000 will be a new trend this year. In 2013, just 0.07 percent of smartphones shipped had 4GB RAM for instance, which in 2015, was a little over 0.6 percent. Similarly, other major specifications that trigger the buyer’s decision to purchase a smartphone have improved while average selling prices exhibited a receding trend, the CMR says.

“From a breakthrough point of view, there wasn’t anything remarkable except that Samsung came out with the curved design (Edge series) and Apple launched iPhone 6S and 6S+ with 3D touch functionality,” it says.

Recently, an IDC report also mentions that one out of every three smartphones shipped to India in third quarter of 2015 are 4G enabled, indicating that 4G enabled devices have witnessed almost a three-fold increase in unit shipments over the previous quarter. According to IDC’s Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 28.3 million smartphones were shipped to India in the third quarter of 2015 – up 21.4 per cent from 23.3 million units for the same period last year.

The growth in the smartphone market was helped by rising demand for affordable 4G smartphones,” IDC Senior Market Analyst Client devices Karthik J says in a statement.

In the third quarter, 4G-enabled devices witnessed almost three-fold increase in shipments over the previous quarter and one out of three smartphones shipped was 4G-enabled, IDC said. “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,” he says, touting Samsung as the biggest 4G player in India.

While the smartphone revolution will be stronger in 2016, CMR study predicts that  feature phones will co-exist and these vendors will not exit any price bracket in 2016 to focus only on a few niches.