Could Micromax be the new king of phones in India?

Summary:Yes, says Asia's Counter Point Research but the industry eagerly awaits IDC's numbers to verify this development

micromax

In a potentially seismic shift in the power structure of phone brands in the country, Micromax became the leading mobile phone vendor in 2014s Quarter 2, racing to a market share of 16.6 percent  from 13 percent in Q1 according to Counterpoint Research, a firm that tracks the industry. In doing so, Micromax has sped past Samsung, at 14.4 percent as well as long-time market leader Nokia at 10.9 percent.

Of course, the change didn't happen just overnight—Micromax has been steadily clawing its way to the top of the heap over the years much like its Indian compatriot Karbonn and has won over chunks of the youth segment with its affordable smartphones shipped in from China and stamped with the Indian company's logo. Conversely, Nokia has been bludgeoned over the years, rapidly slipping from its once-dominant position (especially in the feature phone market) as the population gravitates towards smartphones.

The reason for Micromax's gain was apparently its ability to win enough customers in feature phones (15.2 percent, and in first place) and close-in on leader Samsung in the smartphone segment (19.1 percent compared to Samsung’s 25.3 percent). Smartphones are growing at a scorching pace of around 20 percent (while that of PCs and Tablets is slowing); Newcomer Motorola has barged its way into the top 5 with a 4.3 percent share in just six months while Nokia is hanging on thanks to its Lumia line of smartphones with a 4 percent share. 

So what's the problem with these numbers? Well, Counterpoint is not all that well known a research outfit and many will wait for IDC’s figures to kick in to see whether the figures pan out or not. But suffice it to say that IDC's Q1 figures as this article points out was starkly different, with Samsung still lording it over the market at 35 percent in smartphones and 20 percent overall, and Micromax at number 3 overall, with a 15 percent in smartphones and 12 percent overall. 

Of course, Samsung had a disastrous quarter with terrible revenue, profit and shipment figures. And a lot has happened in the last quarter with brands like the Asus' Zenfone and Xiaomi's Mi3 both entering the Indian market and reporting scorching sales unlike anything seen before—but, has it been enough to somehow torpedo Samsung's India sales and help Micromax get the chequered flag for the quarter? IDC’s numbers, eagerly awaited, should help clear the picture up a little.

Topics: Smartphones, India, Samsung

About

Rajiv is a journalist and filmmaker based out of New Delhi who is interested in how new technologies, innovation, and disruptive business forces are shaking things up in India. He was most recently a features editor at Business Standard newspaper, and started his career as a reporter with Fortune Magazine in New York in the '90s. He a... Full Bio

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