Budget smartphone maker Micromax leapfrogged South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to become the leading supplier in India's booming smartphone market for the first time in the fourth quarter, research firm Canalys said.
In a report issued on Feb. 3, Canalys said Micromax, based near New Delhi, accounted for 22 percent of smartphone sales in India in the October-December quarter, ahead of Samsung's 20 percent. In total, 21.6 million smartphones were sold in India in the period, a 90 percent surge from a year earlier.
India, which has the world's second-highest number of mobile phone accounts after China, is the third-biggest market by number of smartphones sold. Low-priced smartphones are the top sellers in a country where many buyers are upgrading from feature phones.
Micromax's performance was partly due to its "continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smartphones", Canalys said. It estimated nearly a quarter of smartphones sold in India in the fourth quarter were devices priced under $100 (roughly Rs. 6,100), while 41 percent of devices sold were in the $100-$200 (roughly Rs. 6,100 - Rs. 12,200) range.
Micromax and Samsung were followed by two other Indian budget smartphone brands, Karbonn and Lava, by number of handsets sold in fourth quarter, Canalys said.
Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi said, "Canalys believes catering to local market preferences will become increasingly important. Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its Unite phones. Lava, another domestic vendor, has launched devices that cater to the preference for greater battery life - in this case a couple of days. But vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India."