Indian brands control nearly half of the world’s fastest growing smartphone market

Think local.
Think local.
Image: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
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Maybe it’s the “Make in India” effect.

India’s mobile phone users are buying local brands like never before. Between January and March 2016, for instance, local brands made up for 45% of the total smartphones sold in India. This is the highest-ever market share held by India’s domestic brands, according to market research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR).

“The Indian government’s focus on Make in India is giving a sense of confidence to Indian smartphone makers. They are now more aggressive about the market and bringing better products that are attracting buyers,” said Krishna Mukherjee, an analyst at CMR. “There used to be a fear about the quality of smartphones made in India, which is now waning.”

Local and global brands are locked in a fierce competition in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. In 2015, home-grown manufacturers faced a hard time as Chinese players flooded the market with new models, nearly doubling their share from to 22% from 12%, market research firm IDC said. In Dec. 2015, Indian brands held just 38% of the market, sharply lower than 44% in late-2014.

While Indian smartphone players are now catching up, South Korea’s Samsung remains the market leader.

Indians are also spending more on phones now.

Buyers shelled out an average Rs12,983 ($194.5) on a smartphone between January and March 2016, 6% more than the previous quarter—and 25% higher than a year ago. This could be a signal for local players to hike their presence in the premium segment, where their contribution is currently “negligible,” Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst at CMR, said. Samsung and Apple dominate India’s premium smartphone segment.

“We saw, for the first time, the price band of Rs10,000-15,000 contributing the maximum (22%) towards the smartphone shipments (sales). Usually, the prime contributor used to be the price bracket of Rs 6,000-8,000,” Kawoosa said.

For India’s local smartphone makers, acche din (good days) may be around the corner.