4G rings loud for smartphone buyers in India

Shipments of 4G phones to India rose 21.4% to 28.3 million in the third quarter of 2015

GN Bureau | November 23, 2015



One out of three smartphones shipped to India in the third quarter of 2015 was a 4G phone and this speaks of smartphone buyers’ confidence about a quick rollout of high-speed fourth-generation (4G) telecom networks.

According to technology research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) shipments of 4G phones to India rose 21.4% to 28.3 million in the third quarter of 2015 from 23.3 million units in the same period last year. The numbers in Q3 saw a three-fold jump from Q2.

Feature phone shipments decreased to 45.6 million this year from 49.1 million in the July-September quarter of 2014.

IDC said smartphones are expected to outstrip the share of feature phones in 2016 in the Indian market as low prices and better value continues to drive migration in the coming years.

Online sales significantly helped smartphone sales.

 “The growth in the smartphone market was helped by rising demand for affordable 4G smartphones,” said Karthik J, senior market analyst, client devices, IDC.

“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,” added Karthik.

Growth was also driven by phones with larger screens at a low cost. Almost one out of every two smartphones sold had displays bigger than 5 inches, the Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report found.

"We expect smartphones to maintain a healthy double-digit growth over the next few years... 4G-enabled devices are expected to be at the forefront, with the entire ecosystem preparing for this shift in the near future," IDC Research Manager Kiran Kumar said.

“This highlights the shift in consumer preference from a device mostly used for voice calling to an advanced multimedia experience,” said Jaipal Singh, market analyst, client devices, IDC.

Samsung, which continued to lead the overall Indian smartphone market with 13.1% sequential growth in shipments in Q3 2015, overtook Lenovo as the top 4G vendor.

Micromax, at second position in the quarter, saw a 6.4% sequential growth owing to the YU phones, which have been performing well and are leading contributors to Micromax’s 4G portfolio. Intex stood at third position with 9.4% growth, while Lenovo Group, which includes Lenovo as well as Motorola phones, grabbed the fourth spot owing to a strong 58.6% quarter-on-quarter growth. Lava slipped to fifth place with a 24.9% sequential drop in shipments.

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