According to a report published by CyberMedia Research, smartphone shipments in India hit 28.7 million units during the second quarter of this year, representing a 5.7% year-on-year growth over the same period last year. Sales of feature phones, meanwhile, continued to show a downward trend, with a 4.2% YoY decline over the corresponding period last year. Overall, 37.3 million feature phones were shipped in the country during the quarter, according to CMR's India Monthly Mobile Handset Review. With sales of smartphones on a steep upward trajectory, overall mobile handset shipments in the country is expected cross 75 million for the first time during the third quarter (July-September) with the onset of the festival season. That number is expected to get a further boost during the final three months of the year when the festival season will be on in full swing.
The report also mentions some of the key reasons for the high rate of growth in the Indian smartphone market at a time when the industry overall is feeling the heat because of stagnating growth in key global markets like China, Europe and the U.S. Among the contributing factors listed are the increasing disposable income of a growing middle class, new product launches and the intense competition that's expected to hit the Indian telecom market with the much-hyped and much-anticipated launch of an all-new pan-India wireless carrier called Reliance Jio; an event that is expected to start a fresh round of tariff war between incumbent carriers in the country. The carrier will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance industries, the largest private-sector corporate enterprise in the country with revenues of over $44 billion in FY2015-16.
As for the leading smartphone vendors in the country, Samsung, Micromax and Intex continued to lead the pack, although Reliance's new 'LYF'-branded VoLTE-enabled phones have now climbed up to the fifth spot overall, thanks to the unlimited voice, SMS and LTE data that comes bundled with them. While the entry-level segment continues to see high growth thanks to the transition from feature phones to smartphones in rural and lower-income urban communities, premium devices with price-tags in excess of Rs. 20,000 ($300) have also been doing brisk business. The segment registered a 35% growth during the quarter, with companies like ASUS, LG, Huawei, OPPO and LeEco doing rather well for themselves.