India ditching feature phones faster than ever for cheap Android smartphones: IDC

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india kid touching smartphone

First quarter smartphone shipments in India grew 186 percent year-on-year, according to a new report from market research firm IDC, faster than any other country in Asia. In contrast, China grew 31 percent.

Nine out of 10 mobile phones in India are feature phones, but nearly a third of new phone shipments in Q1 2014 were smartphones. Cheaper Android devices are driving consumers to migrate away from feature phones.

IDC says about 61 million mobile phones – feature and smart – were shipped in India last quarter. That’s actually 10 percent lower than the previous quarter, and just one percent higher year-on-year. The overall growth stumbled mainly because of the big dip in feature phone sales, which was compensated by smartphone shipments growing around 17 percent over Q4 2013.

See: 44 million new smartphones shipped in India in 2013, but feature phones still prevail

Vendors shipped a total of 17.6 million smartphones in the first quarter of this year, nearly triple that of a year prior. 5.5- to 7-inch tablets led the growth, more than doubling on the previous quarter. Smartphones less than US$200 contributed to 78 percent of all the smartphones shipped in India, showing that India remains a very price-sensitive market.

Samsung still tops India’s smartphone sales with 35 percent market share, followed by Micromax (15 percent), Karbonn (10 percent), Lava (6 percent), and Nokia (4 percent).

IDC forecasts Indian smartphone shipments will reach 80.6 million units by the end of this year compared to 44 million last year. Growth will increase about 40 percent every year for the next five years.

Editing by Steven Millward; image from Biswarup Ganguly via Wikimedia Commons

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