Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has emerged as the second largest Tablet vendor in India by shipping 112,320 units of iPad in Q1 2014. iPad Mini and iPad Air played a major role in placing Apple above than home-grown Micromax and Datawind. Indian tablet market, though, struggles to find buyers, especially the first-time buyers, thanks to the increasing options of phablets and strict BIS compliance. The tablet market of India witnessed a Y-o-Y plunge of 32.8% over Q1, 2013, reports International Data Corporation (IDC). Only a meagre 780,000 tablets were shipped in the first quarter of 2014.
The ‘Others’ Catch The largest Chunk
Tablet industry in India is a fickle one. The driving force behind the mobile buyers is the price-range. Almost half the market in India is occupied by the ‘others’ section which comprises of Sony Corp ADR (NYSE:SNE), LG Electronics Inc. (KRX:066570), Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG), Lenovo Group Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS: LNVGY), ASUSTEK Computer Inc. (TPE:2357) and Acer and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)and the native manufacturers. These companies grab a whooping share of 47.5% together. The companies in the others segment provide a brand-value along with affordable prices and good post-sale services.
Samsung Group Maintains its Lead
Samsung Group (KRX:005930) attracts the maiden buyers’ crowd with its marketing strategy, international brand-name and its hold in the worldwide market with the share of Apple going down. Samsung boasts of being a major player in the large-screen segment and held almost one-fourth of the tablet market in India in Q1, 2014. The Korean-giant incorporates the open source Android thus giving users a vast option of free-to go applications. India, being a price-sensitive country, favours this alternative.
iPad Mini Helps Apple to Boost its Performance
Despite users preferring Android over iOS, and Apple staging a decline in the worldwide tablet market, the Cupertino – giant managed to perform well in India. It registered a 14.4% tablet share, second only to Samsung and ahead of home – grown Micromax. Apple has a knack of gaining loyal iOS users which enhanced the sales of iPad Mini and iPad Air.
Slow Growth for Micromax
The launch of Micromax Funbook P280 in February 2014 at a take-away price of Rs.4,650 was a hit in the Indian tablet market. The new model captured a two-third share in the Micromax shipments of tablet. The poor post-sales services could be the reason of Apple pushing Micromax to the third spot with just 8.8% market share.
The Indian tablet market is going through the rough patch. The emergence of phablets and large-screen budget smartphones are the trend of the day. Although Samsung and Apple have taken the top two spots respectively, only four devices combined from both the companies feature in the Top 10 Tablets in India. The companies listed in the ‘others’ category are free to take-over any time.
Negative Impact of Bureau of Indian Standards
The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) compliance of embossing or printing the quality certification on each product has certainly brought down the sales. Any changes in the hardware of the device are done on the source site and as the vendors import shipments, the BIS compliance affects the supply chain and availability of new product in India.
“Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) compliance is certainly hurting the white-box market. International device vendors like Apple and Samsung grew in comparison against Q4 2013, posting significant double-digit growth rates in Q1. However at an overall level, the branded vendors were unable to capitalize on the space left vacant by the erosion from white-box and smaller vendors,” says Karan Thakkar, Senior Market Analyst of Tablets, Enterprise Client Devices and PC Monitors at IDC India.
Phablets or Tablets??
Phablets are hybrid devices that combine the functionality of a smartphone with the capabilities of a tablet. Phablets have a large screen ranging from 5.5 to 6.99 inches, making browsing and gaming more enjoyable. India being a huge market for mobile, has witnessed an upsurge in the growth of phablets. The worldwide sales of phablets is expected to reach 1 billion by 2018 and the major contributors will be countries in the continent of Asia. IDC expects the tablet market to linger around with the same pace.