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Samsung still rules handset market: IDC

It is closely followed by Micromax which has a 14% share in the smart phone category

BS Reporters  |  New Delhi 

During the quarter ended June, Samsung continued to be the number one company in the overall mobile phone (smartphones, feature phones and low-cost handsets) market, according to IDC India.

In its research report released on Monday, IDC said Samsung continued to lead the overall handset market, as well as the smartphone category, with 17 per cent and 29 per cent shares, respectively, in the June quarter. It was followed by Micromax, with 14 per cent and 18 per cent share in the overall handset market and the smartphone segment, respectively.

But there were words of caution for the Korean giant. Jaideep Mehta, vice-president and general manager (South Asia), IDC, said while Samsung held on to its leadership position in the market, Micromax was growing faster. “Samsung needs to continue to address the low end of the market aggressively; it needs a blockbuster product at the high end to regain momentum,” he said, adding given the current growth rates, there was a possibility of seeing positions on the list change in the remaining quarters this year.

Samsung has capacity of about 17 million handsets in India, most of which are sold in the domestic market.

In the June quarter, the overall mobile phone market stood at 63.21 million units, growing five per cent compared to the year-ago period one per cent on a year-on-year basis. The smartphone segment, which accounted for about 30 per cent of the overall market, stood at 18.42 million units, growing 11 per cent sequentially and 84 per cent year-on-year.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research had said in the April-June period, Micromax’s share of the overall handset market stood at 16.6 per cent, while Samsung’s was 14.4 per cent. It is difficult to explain the huge mismatch in numbers. While Counterpoint’s Neil Shah, research director (devices and ecosystems), declined comment on the methodology of the study, IDC said its process entailed data collection from various sources, including vendors and channels.

Market insiders say while all studies noted Samsung as the market leader in the smartphones segment, the numbers might be different in the overall handset market. While some might include phablets (screen size of 5.5 inch-6.99 inch) and tablets as part of the mobility devices market, in which Samsung has a stronger hold, others might exclude domestically manufactured devices. The IDC study, which included phablets, said these devices accounted for 5.4 per cent of the smartphone segment. The Counterpoint study didn’t consider the phablet category.

Asim Warsi, Samsung India vice-president (marketing, mobile and IT), said the company took note of research and studies by different agencies but focused on actual consumer off take, not particular data. “Overall, to further grow our business significantly across every segment, we have expanded and strengthened our product portfolio, including the entry-level mobile phone segment,” he said.

Micromax declined to comment for this story.

IDC said the sub-$200 smartphone market was increasing, with this category contributing about 80 per cent to sales. With the influx of Chinese vendors and Mozilla’s plans to enter the smartphone category at the $50-point, the low-end segment of the smartphone market would turn crucial in the coming quarters, it added.

“IDC observes a new entry-level price point is being breached by Indian home grown-vendors every quarter. These devices are not equipped with high-end specifications and the RAM is typically 256 MB. This ultra low-cost segment might not sound a viable option to repeat buyers, but it works well on the targeted segment,” said Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst, IDC India.

First Published: Tue, August 19 2014. 00:44 IST