Samsung still ahead in India's smart phone market, Micomax in close pursuit: IDC

Samsung is holding on to the number one position in India's smart phone market, even as homegrown handset maker Micromax is gaining strength, an International Data Corporation (IDC) report on India's mobile market for the second quarter of the financial year showed.

Micromax, which an earlier report by Counterpoint Research said had overtaken Samsung as the country's top smart phone brand, is still No 2 in domestic sales, says the IDC report.

The South Korean handset manufacturer topped the charts in the overall handset market in the country with a 17 per cent market share, followed by Micromax (14 per cent) and Nokia (10 per cent), Karbonn (9 per cent) and Lava (8 per cent), according to data released by IDC.

''While Samsung has held on to its leadership position in the market, it is noteworthy that Micromax is growing faster. Samsung needs to continue to address the low-end of the market aggressively, and also needs a blockbuster product at the high end to regain momentum. Given the current growth rates, there is a real possibility of seeing vendor positions change in the remaining quarters this year,'' said Jaideep Mehta, vice president and general manager-South Asia, IDC.

The overall mobile phone market in India stood at 63.21 million units during the quarter, a 5 per cent quarter-on-quarter rise from the sequential first quarter. The growth can be attributed to both product categories - smart phones and feature phones - from the first quarter of the year to the reporting quarter.
Back-to-back volume growth in the smart phone market is being noted due to the re-defined low price models in smart phones and continuous migration from feature phones to smart phones, IDC said.

Samsung with a 29 per cent market share was the outright leader here, according to the report. High volume support came in from the sub-$150 products such as Galaxy Star pro and Galaxy S Duos.

In order to maintain its leadership in the market, Samsung needs to work on the margins at the entry level models. With the entry of Chinese vendors and repeated challenges being poised by the Indian vendors, the entry level segment of smart phone market has become a game changer and plays an important role in defining the leadership position, it added.

Micromax with an 18 per cent market share stood at the second spot and has been growing quarter on quarter. Karbonn has maintained its third position, however the gap between Micromax and Karbonn has widened significantly.

Lava is within the striking distance from Karbonn and it will not be a surprise if Lava topples Karbonn to clinch the third spot in the smart phone category in the coming quarters, IDC added.

Motorola has maintained its success story in the smart phone market in India. Despite being available only through online channel, Motorola has crossed 1 million mark within 5 months of its launch.

Smart phone market in India has maintained its growth impetus with smart phone shipments touching year-on-year growth of 84 per cent in the second quarter and a quarterly growth of 11 per cent. The potential for growth in the smart phone market is quite high as 71 per cent of the market continues to be on feature phones.

The sub-$200 category of the smart phone market is increasing in terms of the shipment share as the contribution from this category stood at 81 per cent in the second quarter of 2014.

''Smart phone market is expected to more than double between now and 2018 and much of this is expected to be driven by the migration from feature phones to smart phones. The user expectations are simple, that is best-in-class user experience at affordable prices. With the introduction of Mozilla and Android One, the sub-200$ segment is anticipated to become even more appealing,'' said Kiran Kumar, research manager, client devices at IDC India.

IDC anticipates high growth in the smart phone market in the coming quarters due to the festive season and continuous run rate buying from the consumer. In the highly competitive mobile phone market, there is a high possibility of a shuffle in the ranking within the top five smart phone vendors in the coming quarters, it added.