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Premium smartphone shipments down 60 % in third quarter


Shipment of smartphones priced above Rs 30,000 fell 59 per cent year-on-year, data from Counterpoint Research show

India has come to be known as the fastest growing market for smartphones, with premium usually doing better than other categories, but September quarter was different. Shipment of priced above Rs 30,000 fell 59 per cent year-on-year, data from Counterpoint Research show.



Two of the global leaders in and - which command the lion's share in premium handsets sales in India, shipped lower volumes during the July-September quarter. According to analysts, absence of Note 7 in Samsung's portfolio hurt its shipments during the period. Apple, on the other hand, shipped only 1,500 iPhone 7 devices, Faisal Kawoosa, lead, telecom & semitronics, Cyber Media Research (CMR) said.

"Last year, while had S6 Edge and Note 5 in its kitty and was heavily shipping in the devices to meet festive season demand in the country, this year no such new flagship was there for them," Tarun Pathak, senior analyst, Counterpoint said. Pathak indicates that offtake of iPhone was slow during July-September.

Usually, smartphone ship in high-end handsets, which are mostly manufactured in China and Taiwan, well ahead of the festive season. However, this year delayed the process and postponed shipment of its new iPhone 7 to October.


According to International Data Corp data, iPhone sales have lost significant market share in major Indian cities during April-June 2016. Its share, by volume, had almost halved to 2.5 per cent in top 30 Indian cities - markets where iPhone sales mostly take place - from 4.6 per cent in the October-December 2015 quarter.

iPhone's market performance in the above-Rs 20,000 price segment also worsened during the quarter. It fell to 35.6 per cent from 52.3 per cent in January-March 2016, despite the launch of the iPhone SE in April.

While the top two players in the segment imported less handsets, other brands stayed away from importing more smartphones. According to Kawoosa, as and had been holding the space for quite some time, other brands have lost out their hold over the market in premium segment. and together hold more than 90 per cent of the above-Rs 30,000 category.

The other end
Growth in the low-end of the market has been slower than the mid-segment due to slowdown in conversion of feature phone users. While the Rs 8,000-30,000 price range grew by 45 per cent to 155 per cent, the Rs 4,000-6,000 price category shrunk by 13 per cent.

According to analysts, poor internet connectivity in rural areas and lack of affordability among consumers to buy data plans may have impacted sales in the low-end segment. The mid-segment market, on the contrary, is growing as smartphone users continue to upgrade. "Many companies, who used to focus on lower end of the market are now shifting towards affordable segment to improve profitability and brand value," Pathak said.

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