Karbonn and Micromax surpass both Apple and Samsung in India

The depreciating Indian rupee isn’t keeping Indian consumers away from buying new devices. In fact, now they’re inclined to purchase domestic products instead of paying more for international brands.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

The rising demand for affordable smartphones in India has lead to increase in demand for domestic products, helping local manufacturers surpass demand from international brands such as Apple and Samsung, according to market research firm IDC.

According to the IDC data, for the Asia/Pacific region, excluding Japan, homegrown vendors shipped 46 million units, while Apple and Samsung combined only shipped 35 million units for the 2nd quarter of 2013. In the latest statistics, Samsung kept its lead ahead of Micromax in second and Karbonn in third.

Furthermore, IDC recognized Indian phonemakers such as Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, and even Intex as rising stars in the emerging smartphone market in India. Homegrown companies comprised of 38 percent for volume in the 2nd quarter of 2013, up from 20 percent in the same quarter in 2012 and 7 percent in the same quarter for 2011.

(credit: IDC)

Clearly, Indian devices are receiving more brand awareness and recognition than ever before as Indian consumers are leaning towards domestic products instead. If you ask me, except for the name itself, I personally think Indian devices are just as good as any devices sold from Apple, BlackBerry, and Samsung.

Downside to Indian devices

That being said, there is one drawback to purchasing Indian devices that many Indian consumers aren't aware of. Even though all of the devices are unlocked and can easily be used with all Indian mobile operators, the devices itself only work in India. The GSM bands and frequencies Indian devices currently are equipped with means they only work in the Indian sub-continent. Consequently, those roaming internationally in places such as Europe or North America won't be able to use their devices.

This is a shortcoming which I feel Indian companies should address in the long term, as then eventually their devices could be exported and sold abroad. Furthermore, this would alleviate the current international roaming issues Indian consumers face with an Indian device. On the contrary, devices made by Nokia and Samsung in India, for example, that are also unlocked, do work abroad. However, these devices, as they're manufactured in India, are usually just for sale within India itself.

Furthermore, Indian companies could reduce costs to consumers even further by sourcing production of parts within India itself. At the moment, all the parts come from China and final assembly takes place in India. As a result, the import tariffs for these parts are passed on to Indian consumers. Now, with the depreciating Indian rupee, even the prices for the most basic Indian device are set to rise in the short term. That being said, India is still probably one of the only places in the world where you can purchase a decent device for less than US$50.

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