India Smartphone Market Finishes Strong with 124 Million Total Shipment Units in 2017

May 18, 2018


According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Indian smartphone market witnessed a healthy 14 percent annual growth with a total shipment of 124 million units in 2017, making it the fastest growing market amongst the top 20 smartphone markets globally.

The market resumed its double-digit growth after a temporary slowdown in 2016 caused by factors such as demonetization and a shortage of smartphone components. This contrasts with China, the world’s largest smartphone market that saw its first decline this year, while the USA was relatively flat.

After the 2017Q3 festive quarter, the smartphone category saw a sharp dip of 22 percent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) in 2017Q4 as vendors focused on clearing channel inventory. However, it registered a healthy 18 percent growth compared to last year’s weak quarter which was impacted by demonetization.

China-based vendors further strengthened their positions in the smartphone category with the collective share of China-based vendors reaching 53 percent in 2017 from 34 percent a year ago. “The untapped demand in the lower-tier cities remains the key attraction for China-based brands to explore the growth trajectory in India. Their strength in their home market of China and weakening position of local players has helped some of these China-based players to solidify their operations in India,” says Jaipal Singh, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.

India is the world’s third largest smartphone market, and also continues to hold its position of being the biggest feature phone market globally. 2017 has been an exceptional year for this category as it witnessed a 17 percent annual growth after declining for three consecutive years.

While feature phones remain relevant to a large consumer base in India, the Indian telecom operator Reliance Jio shipped huge shipments of 4G enabled feature phones taking the leadership postion on its maiden quarter in this category.This resulted in a total of 164 million feature phone shipments in 2017 from 140 million a year ago. In 2017Q4, vendors shipped a total of 56 million units in the 2017Q4 making it the highest-ever shipments in a single quarter. The category registered a huge 67 percent year-over-year (YoY) growth and 33 percent growth from the previous quarter.

Commenting on the key trends of 2017Q4, Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India “Xiaomi taking a lead over Samsung in the smartphone market and Reliance Jio emerging as the leading feature phone company in India were the two key highlights of the last quarter of 2017. Joshi adds further “The growth of both the vendors was propelled by their aggressive pricing. Xiaomi’s offline expansion and higher marketing spends were other key factors for the vendor’s high shipments in the seasonally low quarter.”

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