Phablet craze drives India's smartphone growth in Q2

The latest numbers indicate that phablets are indeed a hit with Indian consumers. They made up 3 in 10 of all smartphones shipped in the second quarter.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

The number of smartphones shipped to India has increased by 200 percent in the last one year alone, reports The Times of India citing IDC data.


According to IDC, 9.3 million smartphones were shipped in the 2nd quarter of 2013, a sharp rise from the the period last year of just 3.5 million units. The strongest growth segment were devices with a large screen size, phablets, ranging between 5 to 7 inches. In fact, phablets accounted for 30 percent of all smartphones shipped in the 2nd quarter of 2013.

Leading the pack is Samsung with a market share of 26 percent, followed by India's Micromax with 22 percent, and Karbonn with 13 percent. Both Nokia and Sony have 5 percent market share while other companies account for 29 percent market share in India.

Clearly, Indian consumers are keen to invest more in their mobile devices while also receiving more features than previously offered. Personally, I think the Indian companies such as Micromax and Karbonn make excellent devices, as they are indeed world class with their features and processing speeds, and give international players such as Samsung a competitive market in India.

That being said, I wonder when Indian companies will overtake the international brands, especially with the depreciating Indian rupee. As it becomes more expensive to import devices, logically it would make sense for the Indian companies to start manufacturing their devices in India, instead of sourcing the parts to China with final assembly in India.

I personally feel Indian consumers are finally waking up and realizing that buying Indian devices at almost the same price, but usually at more affordable prices when compared to either Apple, BlackBerry, or Samsung devices, is a more viable option. For example, the extra money saved can easily be spent to purchase a cover for the device or advanced headset.

In the same token, there have been some misses in India when it comes to locally-made devices, such as the Aakash series. Yet ironically, the Indian government is still planning on investing in creating another version and extending their reach into creating sub-US$100 smartphones meant for India. Perhaps in the near future, the Indian government will pursue creating phablets for the Indian masses too.

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