Smartphone shipments to India jumped 167 percent in January-April from the same period a year earlier, crossing 9.4 million units, according to a report released by research firm CyberMedia Research (CMR).

In an indication that domestic brands are riding the wave of popularity in India, local manufacturer Micromax and Bangalore-based Karbonn Mobiles came in among the top three positions for the first time, occupying the second and third places behind Samsung for the market share of smartphones. The Korean company took 40.7 percent of the share, while Micromax came in at 19.3 percent, followed by Karbonn at 8.6 percent.

CMR India Mobile 2 Smartphone shipments in India jump 167% as local vendors close the gap on market leader Samsung

An analyst at CMR Telecoms Practice, Tarun Pathak, said that this shows the market dynamics in the India smartphones segment have changed:

One of the key reasons for this is that a large number of featurephone users are migrating to entry-level smartphones. A significant proportion of these were already using the devices of local vendors and preferred to continue with a smartphone of the same brand. Thus, local vendors have been able to introduce their new smartphone offerings to this ‘captive’ customer base.

Smartphone shipments made up 12.8 percent of the total mobile devices shipped in the country. The total number of mobile handset shipments for the first four months of this year reached 73.5 million units, up 11.1 percent year-on-year — with 19.4 million units shipped just in April alone.

Lead analyst for CMR Telecoms Practice, Faisal Kawoosa, said that the feature phones market in India has matured, while the smartphones category is showing “promising growth”. Comparatively, feature phone shipments grew by a mere 2.4 percent for the first four months of the year. Kawoosa said:

This is attracting relatively new entrants such as Micromax and Karbonn to start offering smartphones, particularly for entry level users who would like to migrate to a more sophisticated mobile experience.

Nokia managed to cling on to its top spot in overall mobile shipments, making up 20.3 percent of the market share, while Samsung followed closely behind with 14.2 percent.

Another set of data released last month for Q1 2013 by IDC showed similar trends — the research firm said smartphone shipments surged 74 percent during the first three months of this year, with Samsung taking a market share of 32.7 percent followed by Micromax with 19 percent and Karbonn Mobiles with 11 percent. The IDC report had noted that whereas last year domestic makers accounted for only 3 percent of the market, they now account for about 30 percent.

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