The Indian Smartphone Market

| May 4, 2015

The Indian smartphone industry is awash with new mobile phone launches. Indian smartphone makers are holding increasingly regular mobile phone launches, and with each subsequent mobile phone that is released the features are looking less and less impressive. The launches of new smartphone in India have now become rather predicable.

Indian Smartphone Buyers

Indian Smartphone Buyers

The Indian Smartphone Market

India is one of the largest markets for mobile phone makers. As the growing working and middle class increases, and the country’s prosperity becomes more aligned with western economies, the need for communication devices in the form of smartphone increases. Smartphone launches in India however are becoming rather monotonous. There are so many smartphone launches due to the amount of manufactures, and the price of technology dropping faster than ever before.

Globally mobile phone manufacturers dominate the smartphone industry such as LG, Sony, Motorola, and Samsung. However in India there are a number of popular manufacturers such as Karbonn, Lava, Micromax, or Intex. Due the position of India to China, there are a number of chinese manufacturers that are also targeting the Indian smartphone market, such as Xiaomi, and Gionee. It has become difficult for these smartphone makers to really difference themselves in the marketplace, due to the low acquisition costs of key components inside smartphones.

Smartphone Components

Most of the smartphone makers in the phone industry source their components from the same manufacturers. The chipsets come from MediaTek, Qualcomm, and sometime Intel. Similarly the batteries, cameras, display panels, and touch screens are from the same vendors. 80% of the smartphones in India run Google Android operating system, so they are all very similar with the user interface. There is very little customization that happens from the manufactur. What really distinguishes mobile phones in India? There is very little, except one main factor and thats cost. Since

Smartphone Marketing

The marketing departments of the smartphone makers are all guilty of hyping up the products in such a way that any claims just now sound similar to each other. Each smartphone maker claims their “innovative” smartphone is “revolutionary” One of the only true innovations in the Indian smartphone market has been dual SIM phones. Still widely unavailable anywhere else in the world. In 2014, the Indian smartphone market saw 250 million mobile phones sold in the country with between 70 and 80 million of those smartphones. Around 85% of that is made up of basic entry level smartphones. This demonstrates that although people still care about the price primarily, they are starting to turn towards more high end features that smartphones contain.

How Indians Use Mobile Phones

The Indian market has primarily been a way for people to stay connected through voice calls and text messages. Now the market is maturing and more people want connected to the internet. With the basic smartphones offering fairly decent internet access and social media features such as Facebook and Twitter, this trend is beginning to catch on. The basic smartphone although might not have the fastest processor, or best camera, they make up for this in featuring a larger display for browsing. High end smartphones are not where the growth is, its coming from medium range smartphones that even people who are on the basic minimum wage in India can afford.

Xiaomi – The Underdog

The chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has selected India as their strategic target of 2015, and unveiled its new smartphone the Mi4 in New Delhi on April 23rd. They’ve specifically targeted the medium end of the smartphone market by pricing the model at a local price of 12,999 rupees, approximately $200.

Established Smartphone Manufacturers

Large manufacturers like Samsung have found penetration into the Indian market difficult. The number one ranked smartphone in India is Micromax, with a 22% market share in 2014. Samsung, for its large budget and marketing have only managed to achieve a 20% share of the market. Samsung is fighting back though. They have launched a budget smartphone in the shape of the Z1 Tizen, which comes with its own custom branded operating system, and the budget price of 5,700 rupees approximately $90. Apple is planning expansion of its stores in India with cooperation between local distributors in an effort to open 500 stores in 2015. Apple hopes that it can triple iPhone sales this year with its current sales figures at approximately 1 million units a year in India.

The Future Of Smartphone Growth

The market for smartphones in the western economies is saturated, and yet India remains one of the most targeted from manufacturers because of its growth potential. There is fierce competition among the manufacturers as they compete for dominance in one of the largest markets in the world. There will be some winners and some definite losers in this smartphone war, and once again its likely to come down to cost over quality.

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