India overhauled Japan to become the world’s third largest smartphone market in the first quarter, with shipments nearly tripling year-on-year.
Research firm Strategy Analytics estimates smartphone shipments in India hit 10 million in 1Q13 compared to 3.8 million units in 1Q12. The country’s share of global shipments nearly doubled from 2.5% in 1Q12 to 4.7% this year, placing it behind market leader China, and the US in second.
“India is growing four times faster than the global average,” says Neil Shah, senior analyst at the research firm. “Worldwide smartphone shipments expanded 39% year-over-year, compared with 163% y-o-y across India.”
Shah notes India’s shipments growth is double that of China (86% year on year), and way ahead of Japan (24%) and the US (19%).
Big brands including Apple and Samsung are driving the growth in India, however Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, says domestic manufacturers including Micromax, Karbonn and Spice are enjoying the fastest growth.
“India is the new China. India is a low-penetration, high-growth market that no smartphone vendor, component maker or apps developer can afford to ignore,” Mawston says.