Everyone wants a piece of India. The world’s fastest growing smartphone market has over 60 phone companies fighting with each other for the attention of country’s 1.3 billion people. And the... more
Everyone wants a piece of India. The world’s fastest growing smartphone market has over 60 phone companies fighting with each other for the attention of country’s 1.3 billion people. And the competition keeps getting fiercer.
From Apple to Xiaomi to Samsung, every major smartphone brand are increasingly focused on India, as other markets globally show signs of saturation and are slowing down. Tim Cook paid his first visit to the country as Apple's CEO earlier this year where he wooed the government with plans to set up a software development center as well as open an accelerator for app developers. Apple's plans to import refurbished iPhones in India might have hit the wall but the government did bend over backwards to tweak the rules to pave the way for the company to open its iconic retail stores.
China's numero uno smartphone maker, Huawei, has expressed interest to start manufacturing in India. Samsung already manufactures most of the smartphones it sells in India, including its flagship Galaxy S series. Xiaomi, which is going through a terribly rough patch in China, sees India as a bright spot where it is registering annual growth. Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer has already set up manufacturing plants here with plans to have multiple such facilities spread across the country.
But what does India's smartphone market look like? Here's a five-point primer to get you started.
Image: AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade
It’s all Android
The Indian smartphone market is comprised almost completely of Android smartphones. During the second quarter of 2016, for instance, 97 percent of all smartphones shipped in the country were running on Google’s mobile operating system. This is up from 90 percent during the same period last year according to marketing firm Strategy Analytics.
Over 65 smartphone brands operate in India
Unlike the United States and Europe, where you are most likely to either rock an Apple iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, you will be spoiled for choice in India. Indian consumers can choose from as many as 68 smartphone brands when they are out in the market to buy a new smartphone, Counterpoint Research's Tarun Pathak told Mashable India.
It is not just the number of brands alone. These brands had a mind boggling 530 models to offer during the last quarter! The number does not include feature phones, which still sell in India. There are over 700 million mobile phone users, of whom 450 million still use a feature phone.
Samsung is the top smartphone brand
Samsung is the top smartphone player in India. The South Korean company had 25.1 percent of the market share in the country in the second quarter of 2016, according to IDC. The company’s J-series of smartphones, which consists of affordable Android phones, has been its top performer in the recent times.
Samsung competes with India’s Micromax, which has nearly 20 percent of the market share. Other top smartphone shipper in the country are Lenovo (including Motorola), Intex, and local players Intex and Reliance Jio.
Growing LTE phones demand
Indians are increasingly looking for phones that offer the best possible hardware combination for their price. Which means that a phone that costs more than Rs 6,000 ($90), for instance, is expected to have support for 4G LTE. This demand reflects in sales numbers with one-third of the roughly 100 million smartphones sold last year offering 4G LTE.
You won't guess which is the most popular iPhone model
While many thought Apple was targeting India when it launched the iPhone SE earlier this year, it is not the best-selling iPhone in the country. It isn't the iPhone 6s either or for that matter, the iPhone 6, which was launched three years ago. Instead it is the iPhone 5s, which still sells in price conscious India. No wonder Apple wanted to bring in refurbished iPhones in India, which would have enabled it to sell more recent models at a lower price.less