India user base grew to 220 million by end of 2015

The latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service reports that 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 100 million units milestone.

Counterpoint Research analyst Pavel Naiya, added, “The Indian smartphone demand grew strongly during the holiday season in the Q4 2015 quarter. However, the consumer demand waned since mid-November leading to smartphone shipments declining 11% sequentially. However, LTE (a 4G mobile communications standard) shipments grew sequentially, as more than one in two smartphone shipped was LTE capable.”



The quarter also saw rollout of marquee LTE services by a couple of network operators including the soft launch by the much awaited green field operator, Reliance Jio. With the declining ASP of LTE capable smartphones boosting the growing demand for the “future-proof” LTE capable phones, consumers and the industry have been waiting for the LTE services to go live. We estimate LTE services uptake from the growing Indian smartphone user base will be much faster than what the 3G uptake rate has been.”

Counterpoint Research senior Analyst Tarun Patha said, “India has inched past US to become the second largest smartphone market in terms of active unique smartphone user base in the world with the base crossing 220 million users. This speaks volume for the scale India market provides for any player in the mobile connected ecosystem. Though India still has a long way to go as the smartphone penetration of the total potential population is still below 30%.

As a result, India continues to attract new smartphone brands every quarter adding to more than 150 smartphone brands selling their devices in the country. Furthermore, government driven initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ have gained serious momentum in 2015 to attract more players in the mobile value chain. Almost half of the total mobile phones shipped in India during the quarter were assembled in India.

Meanwhile, the ‘Make In India’ trend is estimated to scale even faster and broader in 2016.”

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 in 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.