India may be Asia’s fastest-growing smartphone market, but shipments slowed down last quarter for the first time. According to IDC, the quarter-over-quarter lag was caused by a surplus of inventory left over after India’s festive season in October and November.
During Q4 2014, smartphone shipments fell four percent quarter-over-quarter, but fared better than featurephones, which dropped by 14 percent. Shipments of featurephones began declining in 2013 as more Indian consumers nixed them in favor of inexpensive Android smartphones from Samsung and Micromax.
As IDC’s latest numbers show, featurephones are continuing a slow but gradual slide into oblivion. The firm found that smartphones accounted for 35 percent of all mobile phones shipped in Q4 2014, a considerable increase from 13 percent a year ago.
IDC says smartphone shipments to India will continue to be slow in Q1 2015 as vendors sell off their remaining inventory.
Vendors who have prepared 4G smartphones, however, may fare better because telecoms are preparing to debut 4G LTE service. Users who are tired of unreliable 3G connections will be eager to snatch up 4G devices and data plans as soon as they are available. Manufacturers that might benefit include China’s Xiaomi and Huawei, which have already launched inexpensive 4G smartphones in India.
In terms of how individual companies performed in Q4 2014, Samsung managed to hold on to its lead with a 22 percent vendor share, even though its overall market share is declining thanks to heavy competition from the iPhone as well as other Android smartphone makers. Micromax took the number two spot with an 18 percent share. Intex came in third with 8 percent, while Lava took 7 percent and Xiaomi 4 percent.