Selling smartphones is no small feat. How many times did you buy a smartphone this year? Once? What’s more likely is you didn’t buy a smartphone at all. That’s because U.S. consumers have become increasingly satisfied with their mobile devices, especially as prices increase and special features become more standardized. In other words, the U.S. has reached saturation, so companies like Apple and Samsung are looking for new frontiers to conquer. One such highly prized marketplace is India.
In a recent report by a global marketing intelligence firm, the Q2 vendor share in India was analyzed to provide important insight about purchasing trends inside the densely populated country. According to the report, 26.5 million smartphones were shipped to India during Q2 this year, an increase of 44 perfect from the same period last year.
Samsung, with just over 23 percent market share in smartphone sales, is the leader among smartphone vendors in India. However, core devices like the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge did not significantly contribute to the company’s stronghold in India. That’s due in part to unique characteristics of this specific marketplace.
Smart Versus Budget Phones
First, consumers in India have a strict preference for budget phones. About 50 percent of all smartphones bought in Q2 this year were low or mid-tier devices, like Samsung’s Galaxy J1, and older models like the Galaxy Core.
Samsung was able to edge out big U.S. competitors like Apple for two simple reasons: Apple doesn’t offer a budget phone, and Apple has yet to open a flagship store on Indian soil.
Lastly, smartphone vendors in India will have to wait patiently while the market makes the slow transition from mobile phone to smart device. India’s population has yet to reach this critical mass, however, the report predicts that by 2017, India will overtake the U.S. as the second largest smartphone market globally.
Korea’s Samsung is still top dog in India, but other companies like domestic brands Micromax and Intex, as well as China’s Lenovo, have managed to grab a slice of the pie. Micromax maintained the second position in the smartphone market with a 17.7 percent shares. In third place, Intex increased to 12 percent, and Lenovo (including Motorola) edged out fourth place thanks to its new budget device the K3 Note, which they sold 2 million units of in India for the first time ever in Q3.
For now, smartphone vendors in India will have to wait for consumers to reach a higher saturation point before they can upgrade smartphones at the rate they have been in the U.S. and China. However, if the smartphone lifecycle continues as it has here in the U.S., vendors will inevitably see a slowing from Indian consumers in the years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeremy Pollack has a B.A. in English from USC and has been writing professionally since 2001. He is the founder and editorial manager of Compelling Content Solutions, A copy writing and content marketing services company.