The smartphone user base in India is growing by leaps and bounds and as per the latest report, it has crossed the 300 million mark owing to the strong rise in shipments. The data, provided by Counterpoint Research, indicates shipments grew 18 percent annually in 2016 in India even as the global smartphone market showed a damp growth at just three percent. Also Read - Phone heating up often? 5 tips to save smartphone from overheatingAlso Read - Chip shortage increases sales issues for smartphone manufacturers in 2021
The year also witnessed Chinese brands pushing Indian vendors in the smartphone race. In Q4 2016, Chinese brands accounted for 46 per cent rankings of the total smartphone market, up from 14 percent a year ago. For the first time, no Indian brand featured in the top five smartphone rankings. Brands such as Vivo, Oppo, Lenovo and Xiaomi dominated the Indian smartphone market especially during the Holiday season. The report further points that although demonetization had its impact on local players, the successful outcome for the Chinese vendors is owing to their aggressive portfolio strategies and substantial marketing spends. Also Read - Smartphones to cost more with import duty hike on displays: Everything you need to know
In 2016, Xiaomi had to its credit the Redmi Note 3 which was the most shipped smartphone sold online ever in a given quarter, as per data by IDC. The latest numbers further indicate the progress in domestic manufacturing. More than 83 million smartphones in 2016 were domestically manufactured. In Q4, 2016, 3 out of 4 smartphones were Made in India. However, the local value addition remains close to 6 percent, according to Counterpoint Research. ALSO READ: Apple posts record Q4 2015 in India, sells 800,000 iPhones
Even as the smartphone user base witnessed a huge surge in India, the number of mobile phone shipments saw decline. Mobile phone shipments declined 10 percent year-on-year and 17 percent quarter-on-quarter. This has been also attributed to the demonetization announcement made post-Diwali. The ban on old Rs 500 and Rs 100 notes has widened the usual seasonal decline from estimated 12 per cent to 19 per cent year-on-year. Despite the e-commerce segment witnessing 24 per cent growth in 2016, the trust factor associated with physical stores dealt a major blow to vendors who have an online-only sale strategy. Feature phone shipments, on the other hand, grew 4 percent year-on-year, indicating that the market for basic mobile phones is still not dead.
Following the launch of Reliance s Jio 4G services, the millions-strong internet hungry user base prompted the rise in the sale of 4G LTE enabled smartphones. According to the report, more than seven out of 10 smartphones shipped in India last year were capable of 4G LTE connectivity. Adding to the rise in the demand is introductory offers where even low-budget smartphones shipped with Jio offer.
Coming to the premium players, Apple sold 2.5 million units in a calendar year with one-third of its total shipments coming from Q4 alone when it launched the iPhone 7. The company posted record Q4 2016 sales in India. It sold over 800,000 iPhones in the country making it historically the strongest quarter sales ever. In the smartphone rankings, it captured the 10th position but let the premium segment (above $450/ approximately Rs 30,650) with 62 percent market share. Meanwhile, Samsung continued to lead the Indian smartphone market throughout the year at 25 percent market share, followed by Micromax, Lenovo (including Motorola), Intex, and Reliance Jio.