India device vendors challenge incumbents

Michael Carroll
23 Nov 2011

Nokia and Samsung face growing pressure from makers of low-cost handsets in India, with some local manufacturers even eyeing the global smartphone market, Gartner claims.

The research firm notes that Chinese vendor G’five and Indian manufacturers Karbonn Mobile and Micromax, occupy top five positions in India’s device sales chart behind market leader Nokia and second place Samsung. Local players focus on low-end devices is weakening the efforts of major global brands in the market, and their positions are not improved by growing sales of mid-tier units, Gartner states.

“The entry of Indian mobile handset players focusing on low-end, value conscious consumers has intensified competition in the Indian mobile device market,” principal research analyst Anshul Gupta says, noting that average selling price stands at $75 (€55).

Despite the focus on low- and mid-tier units, Gupta notes that smartphones are beginning to take off in India, accounting for 6% of all devices sold in the nine months to end-September. The figure is forecast to rise to 8% of sales in 2012, when Gartner predicts total device sales will hit 231 million units – an 8.5% increase on 2011.

That interest in smartphones is giving some of India’s domestic device vendors global ambitions, Gupta cautions. “The big global brands will continue to face competition from local and Chinese brands as some of these brands are building capabilities to compete at a larger level covering broader consumer segments,” he says.

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