India Smartphone User Base Tops 300 Million as Smartphone Market Grew 18% YoY in 2016

Chinese brands vivo, OPPO and Lenovo, Xiaomi dominated the Indian smartphone market during the holiday season.

   New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires – January 24th, 2017

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, the smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 18% annually in CY 2016 compared to the global smartphone market which grew a modest 3%. In Q4 2016, there were some significant changes in smartphone rankings with Chinese brands contributing to 46% of the total smartphone market. For the first time no Indian brand figured among the top 5 smartphone rankings. While the demonetization had its impact on the local players, it will be unfair to take credit from Chinese players that continue to expand their presence throughout India, riding on aggressive portfolio strategies and substantial marketing spends.

Market Summary:

  • Mobile phone shipments declined 17% QoQ during Q4 2016.
  • Feature Phone shipments grew 4% YoY as the feature phone to smartphone transition slowed in the second half of 2016 due to the strength of ultra-low cost brands, such as iTel.
  • More than 83 million smartphones in 2016 were “Made in India”. In Q4 2016, 3 out of 4 smartphones were manufactured domestically. However, the local value addition remains close to 6%.
  • More than 7 out of 10 smartphones shipped in India were LTE capable.
  • Demonetization has widened the usual seasonal decline from estimated 12% to 19% YoY.
  • Apple achieved a landmark, crossing 2.5 Million units in a calendar year, with a 1/3 of its total shipment coming alone from the record fourth quarter driven by seasonality and the launch of iPhone 7.
  • Apple captured 10th position in the smartphone rankings during Q4 2016 but led the premium segment (above US$450) with 62% market share.
  • Chinese brands raced to capture a combined 46% of the total smartphone shipment in Q4 2016, up from 14% a year ago. Furthermore, November 2016 saw Chinese brand share reach an all-time high, accounting for 51% of the total smartphone market.
  • Chinese brands OPPO, vivo, Lenovo and Xiaomi continued to grow at the expense of Samsung and Indian brands. Their success was attributable to a variety of factors including strong marketing and channel push, as well as better access to components that were in limited supply. As a result Chinese brands captured close to 50% market share.
  • One in three smartphones sold during the quarter were through ecommerce channels, a segment which grew 24% in CY 2016.

Exhibit 1: India Smartphone Shipments Market Share in 2016 and 4Q 2016


Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor Q4 2016

*Lenovo Includes Motorola

Exhibit 2: Chinese brands share over the quarters


The comprehensive and in-depth Q4 2016 Market Monitor is available for subscribing clients. Please feel free to contact us at for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press inquiries.