Indian smartphone market shrinks for first time in Q4 2014: IDC

NEW DELHI: In a first, the country's smartphone market fell by 4% in the October-December period last year as compared with the previous quarter, research firm IDC said today.

Overall, mobile phone shipments in one of the world's fastest growing handset markets stood at 64.3 million units in Q4 2014, reflecting a quarter-on-quarter drop of 11% over Q3 2014 and an annual drop of 5%.

"India's smartphone market observed shipment contraction in Q4 for the first time ever (q-o-q basis). This was largely owing to a high channel inventory at the beginning of the quarter amongst general trade which in turn was caused by the surge witnessed in online sales during festive season," IDC said in a statement.

The fourth quarter in 2014 was seen as a "correction phase" wherein the smartphone market declined by 4%, while the feature phone market tanked by around 14% over July-September 2014, it added.

Going ahead, IDC projects a sluggish January-March 2015. However, few global vendors who were in the inventory correction phase until now are likely to exhibit big shipment numbers starting Q1.

"Operators are gearing up for 4G network rollout. For vendors and ecosystem partners, greater emphasis on 4G-enabled handsets at competitive price points will be the order of the day. End-users' desire to upgrade and keeping abreast with the latest technology will continue to drive a strong growth for the smartphone market in 2015," IDC Research Manager (Client Devices) Kiran Kumar said.

In the smartphone category in October-December 2014, Korean electronics giant Samsung maintained its leadership in India with 22% market share, followed by homegrown vendors Micromax (18%), Intex (8%) and Lava (7%) and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi with 4% share, IDC said.

In the mobile phone segment (smartphones and feature phones), Samsung again led the market with 17% share followed by Micromax (15%), Nokia (10%) and Intex and Lava at 8%, each, it added.

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