India Surpasses USA to Become the Second Largest Smartphone Market in the World

According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, the smartphone shipments in India grew a healthy 15% annually in Q4 2015 (Oct-Dec). During CY 2015, Indian smartphone shipments grew 23% YoY to cross the 100 Million units milestone.

“India Smartphone user base grew to 220 Million users by end of 2015 surpassing USA for the first time ever”

Market Summary for Q4 2015:

  • Smartphones: More than 40% of the mobile phones shipped were smartphones
  • 4G LTE Smartphone: More than one in two smartphones shipped during the quarter were LTE smartphone
  • Make in India: Almost half of mobile phones sold during the quarter were “Made in India” with 20+ mobile phone brands now assembling their phones in India.
  • Domestic brands such as Intex and Lava have considerably closed the gap with the second largest mobile phone or the number one domestic mobile phone brand Micromax
  • Almost one in three smartphones were sold through online channels during the year.

Exhibit 1: India Mobile Phone and Smartphone Shipments 4Q 2015

Exhibit 1


  • Samsung led the overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment during the quarter with market shares of 23.6% and 28.6% respectively.
  • It also retained top slot for the entire calendar year with market shares of 19.8% and 25.7% in overall mobile phone market and smartphone market respectively.
  • Samsung’s J series drove volumes for the Korean giant as it ramped up the series by launching multiple SKUs in the entry to mid-level segment.
  • Three out of the top five smartphones during the quarter were from J series with J2 being the best-selling smartphone in India during the quarter.
  • It used its distribution prowess to gain a much needed foothold in the $100-$200 segment where it is facing stiff competition from local and Chinese brands. However, it continues to lose market share in sub $100 price segment.
  • It also led the LTE smartphone segment during the quarter


  • Micromax maintained the second position in both overall mobile phone market and the smartphone segment, with market shares of 13.7% and 14.3% respectively.
  • It also retained second position for the entire calendar year with a market share of 13.5% and 16.1% in overall mobile phone market and smartphone market respectively.
  • However, it faced intense competition in $50-$100 price segment from other local brands which led to decline in shipments during the quarter.
  • It was the number three LTE player during the quarter
  • Micromax’s Cyanogen-based online-only brand ‘Yu’ launched its high-end LTE model ‘Yutopia’ during the quarter extending its portfolio from cheapest LTE to its costliest LTE phone ever.
  • Micromax Yu brand crossed 2 Million units in CY 2015 signifying growing user base as it plans to scale up Yu ecosystem deeply integrating O2O services such as “Around Yu”.


  • Intex cemented its third position in the overall handset market during the quarter and for the entire year with market share’s of 13% and 10.4% respectively.
  • It lost its number three spot in the smartphone market to Lenovo during the quarter with a market share of 9.6%. However, it ended the year as third largest smartphone vendor with a market share of 10.4% driven by growth in entry level smartphones.
  • Demand for Intex products remains strong sub-$100 smartphone price band which is the key reason for its growth. However, the vendor needs to scale portfolio and drive volumes in mid-tier smartphone segment to capture the growing number of upgrades.
  • Intex is an official sponsor for IPL cricket tournament’s newest team and will be thus looking forward to aggressively market its new line of LTE smartphones.


  • Lava (excluding Xolo) maintained the fourth spot in the overall handset market and 7% share in the smartphone market in Q4 2015 with healthy demand for Lava Iris and Flair series.
  • Lenovo including Motorola raced to third position in smartphone segment for the first time ever in India surpassing Intex with a market share of 11% during the quarter.
  • Lenovo was also the second largest LTE player during the quarter and for the entire year.
  • Meanwhile, Apple achieved a landmark – crossing 2 Million units in a calendar year for the first time ever in India, helped by a strong fourth quarter.
  • Apple still only commands 2% volume share of smartphones, though its high prices means it had the third largest revenue share in 2015. This highlights the prowess of Apple’s brand equity and control over high-value & high-profit premium segment.
  • Microsoft lost its place among the top five brands in a quarter for the first time ever as Lumia shipments declined sequentially and annually.
  • Meanwhile, other brands that grew significantly during the quarter included the Chinese players Oneplus, Coolpad and Meizu.
  • 2016 will be a highly competitive year as brands such as Huawei (with Honor), LeTV and Vivo expand with aggressive offerings to compete head-on with other Indian and Chinese players

Exhibit 2: India Mobile Phone and Smartphone Shipments CY 2015

Exhibit 2

The comprehensive and in-depth Q4 2015 and CY 2015 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 enquiries.

The Market Monitor research is based on sell-in (shipments) estimates based on vendor’s reported results, vendor polling triangulated with sell-through (sales), supply chain checks and secondary research.

Tarun is a Research Director with Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based out of Gurgaon (near New Delhi). Tarun has 10 years of work experience with a key focus on the evolving mobile device ecosystem with specialties in Emerging Markets. He understands specific mobile industry nuances, helping clients to navigate through the rapidly changing technological trends. As a Telecom Analyst he has been quoted extensively by the leading media platforms. Tarun holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, specializing in International Business from the Amity International Business School and is a graduate in Physical Sciences from Jammu University, Jammu in the northern Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir.

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