A ‘first’: Smartphones’ contribution to handset sales dips

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For the first time, smartphones’ contribution to total sales of handsets in India has dipped. This became evident from the year’s third quarter figure — 38 percent, against 43 percent in the previous quarter.

“While the general belief at the moment is that smartphone is the growth catalyst for the India mobile handsets market, the results announced reveal a contrarian view,” said a new report by Cybermedia Research (CMR).

“To the surprise of everyone, it has been the featurephones segment that recorded a 25 percent growth over the previous quarter, bettering the smartphones growth of 11 percent,” said CMR’s Telecom Practice lead analyst Faisal Kawoosa.

“The growth witnessed in the overall India mobile handsets market was attributed to the featurephones segment after a spell of multiple quarters.”‘

While Samsung, Micromax and Intex took the top spots overall, one in every three smartphones sold in the quarter under review was a 4G handset with shipments jumping over 74 percent compared to the previous quarter.

“Oppo, Vivo, Lava, Karbonn and Intex grew its shipments by 3,290 percent, 2,729 percent, 1,310 percent, 995 percent and 627 percent respectively becoming the fastest growing brands among aTop 20’ 4G handset vendors in India,” CMR said.

According to the research arm, feature phones exhibited 35 percent growth quarter-on-quarter after a long spell of negative growth owing to strong increase in sales by Intex (94 percent), Lava (69 percent) and Zen (54 percent).

Interestingly, the firm also said that Qualcomm emerged as the leading 4G chipset partner in India with more than 50 percent share and Mediatek continued to lead in the overall smartphones segment.

“Companies like Intex, Lava and Zen Mobiles continued their focus on achieving growth by penetrating deep into the heartland, serving the mass markets that still exist in much of rural India. This helped them serve both ends of the market extremely well, resulting in a comeback of the featurephones segment, at least during the current quarter,” said Kawoosa.

“However, this should not be seen as some kind of a permanent reversal in technology adoption trends; the future of mobile handsets continues to lie with the smartphones segment,” he added.

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