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India captures second spot globally in smartphone shipments in 2019

It has usurped the US’ position with 158 million smartphones shipped in the year

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MUMBAI: Move over US. Now it’s the turn of India, which has just beaten it for the first time on an annual basis to take the second spot as far as smartphon shipments are concerned. In 2019, more than 158 million phones were shipped in the country, registering a seven per cent year on year growth. That means so many more phones consuming video and data on their apps like Hotstar, Zee5, SonyLiv, Voot, Netflix, Prime Video and what have you.

Market research firm Counterpoint released the data over the weekend. The company said that the sales were spurred by the growth of the mid-tier segment in which Chinese brands introduced many flagship grade features and capabilities, thus luring customers to buy their first or second smartphones. Additionally, the online channels became the preferred selling platforms to introduce these products faster into the market.

Says Counterpoint Research associate director Tarun Pathak: “Although the rate of growth for the smartphone market was only single digit for the first time on an annual basis, India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets; 4G penetration among subscribers being around 55 per cent. Going forward, we expect this demand to grow further due to the ongoing transition from feature phones to smartphones and progressive diffusion of key smartphone features to the entry-level price tier as a result of hyper-competition among multiple players. We further expect brands to have multi-tier strategies involving partnerships in the mobile ecosystem from hardware, software and services, thus creating opportunities within different segments like entertainment, gaming, financial services and more.”

While the smartphone market registered YoY growth, the feature phone market saw a steep decline of around 42 per cent YoY in 2019 and 38 per cent YoY in Q4 2019. This is due to a slowdown in new shipments from Reliance Jio. However, the players such as itel, Lava, Nokia and Micromax registered positive annual growth despite the overall segment decline.

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