Now for some good news: the Indian government may have denied Apple’s request to sell used smartphones in the country, but the company and Lenovo are the fastest growing among India’s top 109 smart phone vendors, according to a new report from Canalys.
India’s smart phone market grew by 12% year-on-year, with 24.4 million units shipping in first quarter (Q1) of 2016, notes the research group. The top five vendors stayed the same, with Samsung in the lead, followed by Micromax, Intex, Lenovo and Lava. Lenovo grew the most; its shipments were up 63% on Q1 2015.
Established international brands Microsoft, BlackBerry, Sony and LG were the biggest losers as the market shifted toward low-cost and value-for-money handsets. Though in eighth place, Apple continued to climb in India, increasing shipments by 56% to make it the second fastest-growing vendor in the top 10.
“Apple is outperforming the overall market in India, and still has great growth potential,” says Canalys Mobility Analyst Wilmer Ang. “It is seriously challenging Samsung’s dominance of the premium segment. For devices priced over US$300 (INR20,000), Samsung’s market share fell from 66% in Q1 2015 to 41% in Q1 2016, while Apple grew its market share from 11% to 29%. Successive price cuts to the iPhone 5s made it the most popular Apple device on the market, despite its smaller screen and outdated hardware.”
However, he says that Apple’s growth run could be short-lived. The 5s’ success in India has more to do with affordability of a premium brand than a preference for smaller phones, and the move to the more expensive SE will discourage budget buyers, he adds.