Smartphone Shipments In India 2015 – 2017: LTE Devices Will Drive The Growth

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With the global smartphone sales expected to grow from 1.5 billion units in 2015 to 1.7 billion by 2017, a new report from CMR (Cyber Media Research) indicates that Indian smartphone market is expected to grow by 37% – a huge achievement compared to the 32% average growth for the last three years. Previously, reports have surfaced claiming that India will leapfrog the US to become the second largest smartphone market by 2017.

Key findings from CMR research:

  • The premium segment of  Indian mobile handset market (> ₹50,000 or US$750) like Samsung’s Edge Series smartphone and Apple’s iPhone 6s accounted for just 0.6% of the market.
  • India’s major market-share in 2015 was taken up by low to medium priced handsets. The ASP (Average Selling Price) for a smartphone has come down to a considerable ₹10,700 (US$160) by the end of 2015 from ₹13,000 (US$200) in 2013.
  • People are becoming more power hungry and apparently pushing the devices for the optimum performance. In 2013, just 0.07% of smartphones shipped had 4GB RAM; in 2015, it was a little over 0.6%. Similarly, other major specifications that could trigger consumer’s interest have improved.

LTE To Drive Smartphone Penetration in India

recent report by Ericsson shows that the worldwide Mobile broadband subscriptions increased by 24.13% Year-over-Year in 2015 and estimates show a CAGR of 15% annually till 2021.

By observing closely, a staggering 40% of the projected 7,700 million smartphone users turn out to be LTE subscribers by 2021. With such an enormous potential growth benefits in the LTE arena, CMR predicts that 4G-enabled smartphone sales in India will cross 50 million in 2016.

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Additionally, according to a Counterpoint study, one in three smartphones shipped in India were LTE-enabled. With more operators offering 4G services in India, the Indian mobile handset industry is expected to make a push for more LTE-enabled devices.

CMR report further highlights that in 2015, 3 out of every 4 smartphones shipped were priced less than ₹10,000. This shows that the majority of the Indian smartphone market must push more for the Sub-₹10k segment as the market is sensitive to pricing. However, CMR claims that the contribution of the Sub-₹5k segment is likely to increase as the shift from first-time feature phone users or first-time mobile phone users to smartphone will remain strong compared to previous years.

However, concerns do exist over how LTE is being deployed in India: Airtel was criticised for spreading misleading 4G ads last year while LTE adoption and broadband adoption was not up to the mark due to soaring spectrum prices. With more vendors adding LTE support for the Sub-₹10k segment smartphones, the regulatory authority and concerned stakeholders might need to check on spectrum prices, which in turn will allow more telcos to enter the 4G arena in India.

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