Samsung Retains Top Spot in Indian Smartphone Market in Q4, Says IDC

Samsung Retains Top Spot in Indian Smartphone Market in Q4, Says IDC
The International Data Corporation has published its report on the Indian smartphone and mobile phone market for Q4 2014. The market research firm notes that the smartphone market saw its first shipment contraction in Q4 (quarter on quarter), and attributed it to the high channel inventory at the start of the period amongst general trade caused by the festive season online sales surge.

IDC notes the smartphone shipments dropped 4 percent from the previous quarter, while feature phone shipments dropped 14 percent. A total of 64.3 million mobile phones were shipped in Q4, a drop of 11 percent from Q3 2014, and a drop of 5 percent from Q4 2013.

The market research firm also observed migration from feature phones to smartphones is accelerating, with the smartphones taking a 35 percent share of the total mobile phone market in Q4 2014, a rise of 13 percent from Q4 2013.

"Smartphone vendors are quick in gauging the consumer demand for 4G handsets. In percentage terms, 4G handsets are still in single digit. But vendors who are not yet ready with the 4G portfolio are likely to miss the next wave of smartphone growth story," said Karan Thakkar, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.

Coming to the all-important smartphone vendor market share figures, we see Samsung keep its top spot with a 22 percent market share, Micromax close behind with an 18 percent share, followed by Intex with a 8 percent share, Lava with a 7 percent share, and Xiaomi with a 4 percent share. The other smartphone vendors made up the remaining 41 percent share.

(Also see: Samsung Disputes Indian Smartphone Market Share Report, Says It's Still on Top)

IDC says while Samsung maintained its leadership position in Q4 2014, it faced stiff competition from "online exclusive" brands in the value for money segment. Micromax on the other hand saw inventory correction in Q4 2014 "owing to high inventories pumped into the channels during the previous quarter."

Intex took the third spot in the smartphone market, a position that Counterpoint Research's data also corroborated earlier this month. IDC says the retail presence of the brand has seen more than a twofold increase, while the firm's focused product launches and media advertisements have worked well for it.

IDC adds that Xiaomi's "online only" strategy paid off well, and the company made it to the top five smartphone vendor list despite a temporary ban on particular handsets. IDC also noted Q4 was the first complete quarter for the brand.

Coming to the overall mobile phone (feature phones and smartphones) vendor market share, Samsung stayed on top with a 17 percent share, followed by Micromax with a 15 percent share, Nokia with a 10 percent share, Lava with an 8 percent share, and Intex also featuring an 8 percent share.

IDC forecast a "sluggish" Q1 2015, though it added a few global vendors that were in their inventory correction phase will exhibit "big shipment numbers starting Q1."

Kiran Kumar, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, added, "Operators are gearing up for 4G network rollout. For vendors and ecosystem partners, greater emphasis on 4G enabled handsets at competitive price points will be the order of the day. End-users' desire to upgrade and keeping abreast with the latest technology, will continue to drive a strong growth for the Smartphone market in CY 2015."

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