India: 50 Million Phones Shipped in Q1 2012, But Smartphone Sales Have Declined

The mobile handset market continues to grow in India, with the feature phones leading the pack. A total of 50.2 million phones were shipped to India in the first quarter of 2012 (January-March). Of this number, 47.5 million are feature phones and 2.7 million are smartphones. In fact, smartphone shipments have dropped by 20.6% from 3.4 million from the previous quarter while the sales of feature phones continued to rise. I haven’t done the due diligence of checking previous quarters’ data but if my memory serves me well, this might be the first time India touched 50 million in shipments for a quarter.

Nokia has 23% market share; Samsung 14.1% market share; Micromax has 5.8% market share.

Feature phones and low-cost phones

Nokia continues to lead the low-cost phone market. A phone costing less than Rs. 5000 (US$ 90.14) is generally termed as low-cost and is also the last category as defined by CMRI, the company which is giving us these numbers. Unsurprisingly, 90.18% of the total shipments are in this (<Rs. 5000) price range. This is probably the reason for buoyant mobile phone sales, which have surpassed 50 million units. Nokia leads this pack with a 21.8% market share followed by Samsung’s 10.7% market share and Micromax’s 6.4% market share reflecting the overall shipments trend.

The next best selling category after below Rs. 5000 range is the Rs. 5001-10000 range (US$ 90.14 to 180.28) which accounts for 7.8% of the total sales. If we just look at phones costing less than Rs. 10000 then it would account to 97.44 %. That’s amazing and all the more reason for Samsung to bolster its portfolio in this price range.

97.44% phones shipped cost less than Rs. 10000

Although there is no figure suggesting that all low-cost (<5000) phones are feature phones, we have to reason to believe so. Beyond the Rs. 10000 price range, all the phones costing from Rs. 10001 and above make up for 2.56% which are bound to consist of smartphones. In the 5000-10000 price range, too, there are a lot of feature phones and very few smartphones. This category makes up for 7.26%. Total smartphone shipments make up for 5.3%. If we assume all phones greater than 10000 Rupees are smartphones, we are left with a 2.74% of smartphones costing less than 10000. This is evidence enough to suggest that majority of <5000 phones are feature phones.


The overall smartphone shipments have dropped from previous quarter by 20.6%. Samsung continues lead smartphones shipments with a market share of 40.4% followed by Nokia’s 25.5% share and RIM’s 12.3% market share. Together, the three smartphone vendors control 78% of the overall market share. That RIM still holds a 12% market share is surprising, but this can be understood as India seems to be having a thing for Blackberry. RIM seems to be having a thing for India too. RIM has slashed prices on many of its models and entered the crowded 5000-10000 price range recently. This probably led to its rise to the #3 position.

The beauty of smartphone shipments (or sales) is that even though they make up only 5.3% of overall shipments, they have made up 23.4% of market value in Q1 2012.

Smartphones make up for a 20th of the overall shipments but account for more than a 5th of the market value

3G, Multi-SIM

4.7 million 3G phones were shipped during this quarter. This is an actual decline but CMRi is of the opinion that slashed 3G rates should influence 3G device sales in Q2. Another trend is that India loves multi-SIM phones. This category seems to have now expanded from dual-SIM to triple-SIM and beyond. It now constitutes of 67.7% of the overall shipments.

2 of every 3 phones shipped to India are multi-SIM phones.

There are quite a few charts shared by CMRi but this particular chart is quite interesting:

Samsung, which leads the smartphone race, has decided not to include Samsung Galaxy Note in these numbers. As per Samsung it’s a “phablet,” though tech pundits have a problem with that category. Samsung wants to get its way with Galaxy Note being both a tablet and smartphone. Samsung’s 40.4% market share may look beyond reach of Nokia, which used to hold the top spot in this market.