Mumbai: Mobile handset sales in India grew 20.8 per cent to 221.6 million units in 2012, driven by a strong growth in the smartphone category, according to a study. The handset sales in the Asia's third largest economy stood at 183.4 million in 2011, said the study by CyberMedia Research (CMR).
While smartphones comprised a small chunk of the overall handset market at about 7 per cent, the high-end category grew at a robust 35.7 per cent to 15.2 million devices in 2012 from 11.2 million units in 2011, it said.
Feature phones sales grew 19.9 per cent to 206.4 million in 2012 from 172.2 million in the previous year, the report said. "Although we see a huge market 'hype' around smartphones, the fact remains that the India mobile handset market is still dominated by shipments of feature phones. On the other hand, smartphone shipments are growing fast," CMR Lead Analyst (Telecoms Practice) Faisal Kawoosa said.
This indicates India is still a 'new phone' market, where feature phones contribute to the bulk of shipments compared to replacements or upgrades, he added.
Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia led the overall market with 21.8 per cent share, followed by Korean giant Samsung (13.7 per cent). Indian handset maker Micromax was placed third at 6.6 per cent market share.
The ranking remained same in the feature phone category, with Nokia garnering 22.5 per cent market share, Samsung 11.5 per cent and Micromax 6.5 per cent.
However, in the smartphone category, Samsung was the leader with 43.1 per cent share, followed by Nokia (13.3 per cent) and Sony (8.2 per cent) in 2012.
While BlackBerry was at third spot during January-June 2012 period, Sony Mobiles displaced the former when the overall sales for 2012 were taken into account, CMR said.
"We believe the struggle for leadership in the India smartphones market is going to intensify through 2013 as vendors bring new form factors to market," CMR Analyst (Telecoms Practice) Tarun Pathak said.
Players like Samsung, HTC and Sony Mobiles will increasingly try to establish leadership through differentiated offerings and by promising a 'seamless' experience across the four consumer screens smartphone, tablet, PC and TV, he added.
"At the same time, homegrown vendors such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava will try to make a mark against their global competitors by bringing to market powerful, yet attractively priced smartphones in an attempt to widen their appeal and grow the overall smartphone user base," Pathak said.