Apple is making strides in India at the expense of its immediate competitors, as it almost trebled its market share in terms of smartphone revenue to come in second behind Samsung and ahead of BlackBerry in the last quarter of 2012.
Citing an upcoming IDC report, the Economic Times reported Monday that Apple achieved a revenue market share of 15.6 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 3.9 percent in the preceding quarter. This puts it ahead of BlackBerry's 6 percent but behind Samsung's 38.8 percent market share. It also grew its shipment volume by more than three times to come in fifth behind Samsung, Micromax, Sony and Nokia, it added.
By contrast, Samsung was reported to have dipped almost 12 percent in terms of revenue market share and shipments that quarter, the report noted.
Manasi Yadav, senior market analyst at IDC India, said in the report: "Apple's sudden jump to become the second-largest player by revenue in smartphones is a surprise as has been the four-fold increase in shipment of iPhones to India in the last quarter. We expect equally high numbers for the current quarter as well."
Another industry watcher, Gartner's principal research analyst Anshul Gupta, told Economic Times that the appointment of two distributors--Ingram Micro and Redington, which together have more than 10,000 stores locally--has increased the retail footprint of iPhones in India. It was previously retailing its smartphones through the domestic operators' retail outlets, the report added.
Cupertino's decision to quickly launch the iPhone 5, together with billing of apps in local currency, have also helped the brand gain traction among Indian consumers, Gupta pointed out.
Apple had previously struggled to penetrate the Indian market due to the country's limited 3G wireless coverage, which is necessary to take advantage of the iPhone's capabilities.