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India: Sony Surpasses Apple as Number Two Smartphone!

April 6, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia, is the seventh-largest country by area and the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people.  More than that, India’s economy is the world’s eleventh-largest by nominal GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP).  The smartphone manufacturers are excited about this emerging and populated nation – this is what the Moto G is all about – an affordable device for the masses.

Indian brands such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava have notched up a significant share in the smartphone unit sales and smartphone sales keep growing every year with Samsung owning 38-percent of market share by unit sales in the October-December quarter with Micromax in second place with 13-percent share. Sony’s device share was 5.5-percent while Apple’s was at  2-percent.

The numbers shift when you consider the profit margins – Micromax sells more units than Sony, but they operate on very little profit per device. Recent profit figures from market tracker IDC show that Sony took 9.1-percent of the profits from the Indian smartphone market in the October-December quarter of 2013 to take second place.  Apple was third at 7-percent and Samsung dominated the market with 43% value share.

Sony sells very well in their homeland of Japan, but has found it tough going in other countries – India is one market where Sony is achieving major success.  Kenichiro Hibi, managing director at Sony India, said that both its smartphones and its flagship televisions are doing very well in India and said that Sony is poised to grow this fiscal year when its flagship Xperia Z2 is launched this quarter.  Hibi said:

“However, smartphone business will overtake television business in sales this fiscal year.  For us, both television and smartphone will be the main pillars to continue the pace of growth in India.  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…”

Sony is increasing sales because they have been focusing on low-priced headsets in the $166-$333 range.  Of course, Sony also spent $65 million in advertising to push their brand of smartphone in India.  IDC India senior market analyst Manasi Yadav says: “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.”

Sony will still have to keep selling if they hope to maintain their position in India.  While the euphoria over the iPhone 5S has died down, Apple is re-releasing the iPhone 4 for $375 to boost sales, Micromax is rolling out a new line of Canvas phones and the new $100 Nokia X is also coming out.

Sony India Sales