–CT News Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 27: Smartphone sales in India grew almost three times to over 44 million in 2013, driven by affordable devices by the domestic firms such as Micromax, Lava and Karbonn, according to research firm IDC. Smartphone shipments had stood at 16.2 million in 2012.

The dominance of local vendors was particularly strong in Q4 2013. While Korean handset maker Samsung maintained its leadership with a 38% share of the Indian smartphone market, Micromax (16%), Karbonn (10%), and Lava (4.7%) also garnered a considerable share in the same category.

Smartphone

IDC also notes a remarkable migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones primarily due to the narrowing price gaps between these product categories. “The growth in the smartphone market is being propelled by the launch of low-end, cost competitive devices by international and local vendors which are further narrowing the price gaps that exist between feature phones and smartphones”, said Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.

The overall mobile phone market stood at 67.83 million units in Q4 2013, up 16% year-on-year. In the overall phone market, Samsung was the market leader with a 19% share in Q4 2013, followed by Micromax (13%), Nokia (12%), Karbonn (10%) and Lava (6%). The 5 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones or phablets that accounted for about 20% of the overall market in Q4.

The smartphone segment is expected to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localized product offerings,” it said.

“International vendors have understood the importance of creating a diverse portfolio of devices at varied price points and are striving to launch cost competitive devices that cater to every segment in the target audience,” said Kiran Kumar, IDC India Research Manager.

IDC anticipates the growth in Smartphone segment to outpace the overall handset market growth for the foreseeable future. The end-user shift towards mid-to-high screen size products will be amplified by the declining prices and availability of feature-rich localized product offerings. Vendors who are able to differentiate their offerings at affordable prices will maintain a competitive edge and secure a strong position in the mobile phone market throughout this year, says IDC.