Smartphone penetration in India 2012

                                    Author: Rajesh Thambala

1.  Introduction

   Demand of Smartphone has continuously been surging up since last couple of   years, resulting in frequent shift of Global Smartphone OS market share. Thanks to low-priced Android Smartphones which have been fueling the penetration of the device around the world. It’s really exciting to see an increasing adoption of Smartphones in some emerging countries such as China, Brazil and India. Despite of Smartphone market growth, Android is the only Smartphone OS witnessing explosive adoption in these emerging markets.

2.  Smartphone penetration in India

     Smartphone penetration in India is low when compared to global market share reports. There exists tremendous untapped growth potential for this market; smartphone penetration in India is currently among the lowest in the Asia-Pacific region.

    India's market share for smartphone shipments stood at 2.2 percent for 2011, rising to 2.5 percent in 2012. This figure is expected to increase to 8.5 percent by 2016, making India one of the countries that will see the largest growth in this segment. Sales of smartphones priced around $100, featuring dual-SIM capability and local apps, is boosting local demand.

   Reduced prices of handsets have increased the penetration of smartphones, in future this number is set to increase manifold. Low-cost with feature-packed smartphones from manufacturers like Micromax, Karbon, Lava, Celkon etc are fueling the growth.

3. Urban India

    More than 27 million smartphone users in Urban India, which constitutes 9 percent of all mobile users in Urban India. The numbers are higher in the large metros of 4 million plus population with one smartphone user among ten mobile users.   

Source: Nielsen

Smartphone – Urban Indians

   Smartphone ownership is among young adults. In fact, the age group of 18 – 24 tops the list with over one in ten owning a smartphone device. Further, those below the age of 18 and above 40, see ownership figures of just 5 percent.


Urban Gender usage 2012

   Nearly twice as many men own a smartphone when compared to women. While one out of every ten men owns a smartphone, the figure is less than half when it comes to women. However, with increasing user friendliness of operating systems and their deep integration with social networks, the gap may come down in the near future.

Source: Nielsen


4. Rural India

   According to a latest report from Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), there are 38 million claimed internet users in rural sector of India and 31 million are considered as active internet users

   In last two years, rural India has shown an incredible growth in internet users. In rural India, the penetration of claimed internet has surged to 4.6% in 2012 from 2.6% in 2010, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 73% in the last two years. On the other side, the penetration of active internet users has mounted up to 3.7% in 2012 compare to 2.1% in 2010. In addition to this, it’s also expected that the number of claimed internet users in rural India will touch 45 million figures by December of this year.

   As number of smartphone users and local language contents on the internet are increasing, the growth of internet users will undoubtedly beat all the projections in the next two years.

  Smartphone penetration in rural India is growing. Adoption in the rural and suburban market has significant effect on the overall smartphone penetration in India. While this is a challenge for the smartphone manufacturers, it also provides huge opportunity for the segment to grow in the country by multifold.

  The local manufactures are main growth drivers in this market providing the smartphones at the lowest cost.

5.  Conclusion

  Though the smartphone penetration in India currently among the lowest in Asia/Pacific, the market in India seems to have great potential for future.

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