Is the Indian Smartphone market a terrible War Zone, with more than 25 Smartphone brands competing with each other. More & more Chinese smartphone brands are entering Indian Mobile domain. The best way to describe the Indian smartphone market is to call it a “Mobile Royal Rumble” – Brands bleeding other brands. The battle is getting very tough and to sustain and scale up is going to be difficult for new entrants.
In the last couple of weeks we have seen the launch of even more Chinese manufacturers; jumping into the Royal Rumble. We are talking here about the number of major manufacturers in Indian smartphone market, who are partnering with large E-Commerce sites like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal. Other small players are too many even to count and keep track off them is impossible.
In total we have around 25 major brands and sub brands operating in the Indian smartphone market and competing for buyer’s attention. We may see some more brands coming in 2015 and 2016 and see the whole smartphone market expand even more. The expected sales for smartphones in 2015-2016 in the Indian Market may cross 150 million smartphones. Beyond 2017 we may see some slow down and only better brands with excellent service and competitive pricing may survive the battle zone.
The recent companies to enter Indian Mobile market is the Coolpad which launched two new smartphones Dazen 1 (priced Rs. 6,999) and Dazen X7 (priced Rs. 17,999) in the Indian market on 28th May 2015. Coolpad has done an exclusive partnership with Snapdeal for the distribution of latest smartphones.
Few days back, Meizu another major Chinese brand launched new smartphone Meizu M1 Note on Amazon India. Along with Meizu there was a new sub brand introduced by ZTE in India known as Nubia – with launch of Nubia Z9 mini also on Amazon.in.
25 Major Brands Compete in Indian Smartphone Market.
Which are the other top Chinese brands in the Indian Smartphone Market and some Top Selling Models?
- Xiaomi – Xiaomi was launched in Indian in 2014 with exclusive tie up with Flipkart. Current popular smartphones are Redmi 2, Redmi Note 4G, Mi4i and Mi4.
- Gionee – Gionee also has been there in India for as long as the Xiaomi in the Indian domain with some top selling smartphones like Gionee E7 and Gione Elife S5.5.
- Oppo – Oppo again a Chinese brand is in Indian since 2014 and has launched various models but due to higher pricing is not as popular as the Xiaomi.
- Motorola – Motorola is owned by the Chinese tech giant Lenovo and competes with Lenovo in the Indian market along with other competitors. It got re-launched in the Indian market last year with Moto G exclusive launch on Flipkart and fueled the online sales of smartphones. Moto G is the first smartphone which saw incredible online success before the flash sales of Xiaomi Mi3.
- OnePlus – The vastly popular Chinese premium smartphone maker, with only one smartphone model in the Indian market. The Oneplus one available in two sizes(16 Gb and 64 GB) is one of the best high quality smartphone.
- ZTE – ZTE has been in the Indian market for long and is also an OEM for many telecom companies for telecom equipment’s and smartphones. Zte has not been able to make much success in the Indian market or we can say it is not able to adapt and provide smartphones which Indian like.
- Huawei – Huawei has recently become very active and aggressive in the Indian market and has partnership with Flipkart. The top selling models are Huawei Honor 6 , Honor 6 Plus , Honor Holly, Honor 4X and 4C.
- Lenovo – Lenovo after acquisition of Motorola is one of the larger players in the Indian market. The Lenovo brand compete with it’s own sister concern Motorola in the Indian market. Lenovo also has been very aggressive with launch of
- Meizu – Recently launched in India with exclusive tie up with Amazon India. They have only Meizu M1 Note in their current Portfolio.
- Coolpad – Another Chinese brand launched in India with tie up with Snapdeal in the Indian market, launched two new smartphones in the Indian market.
- Nubia by ZTE – The Sub brand owned by ZTE launched in India to attract more customers to buy the ZTE premium smartphones. Currently launched the ZTE Nubia Z9 mini in India.
The focus of most of the Chinese brands is to deliver low priced products with decent hardware specs to the Indian buyers.
When we got the Google Nexus 5 in 2014 January the Full HD Smartphone cost was Rs. 28,000 and was cheaper compared to the Full HD Samsung S5 which was later priced around Rs. 35,000 now Full HD screen Mi4i sells for Rs. 12,999. A huge drop in price but quality and after sales support is something which is compromised.
Major Indian Brands
- Micromax – The major Indian brand and is neck in neck to Samsung as far as market share is concerned. The brand competes in all budget segments though lack presence in the high end smartphone category.
- Yu-televentures (Cyanogen and Micromax) – The Yu Yureka and Yuphoria are two models launched by the company and it’s a sub brand for Micromax group.
- Xolo – Xolo is a sub brand of Lava international and also has a strong presence in the budget smartphone segment. It competes with Micromax and other budget players like Xiaomi and Karbonn.
- LAVA – Lava mobiles is the 3rd Largest indian player after Micromax and Karbonn, Lava also caters to the budget segment with mobiles in the range of Rs. 5,000 to 15,000.
- Spice – Spice mobiles is owned by the Modi group and few years back it was much bigger than Lava and Micromax, but lack of vision and sub standard products saw its decline.
- Karbonn – Karbonn offers smartphone at the lowest possible price and is a key competitor to Micromax and Lava. While Micromax has been more focused on the online model Karbonn has focused on retail and rural distribution.
- Xolo – Black – It is the new sub brand of Xolo which is going to be launched in June 2015 in India and will offer budget smartphones with slightly better build quality.
- Intex – The company famous for speakers has moved into mobile domain and focus majorly on Android smartphones with large battery back up.
- iBall – iBall was a good brand name once in the PC market along with Intex for providing low cost PC accessories, the move to smartphone is more focused on retail sales than online model.
These are some of the major home grown smartphone brands which are competing for price and specs with the Chinese entrants. The Smartphone market is highly competitive now and all the brands are more focused to offer best specs and low price to the buyers.
What is essentially happening with sale of so many low priced smartphones, the number of complaints and issues are increasing due to poor quality control on most devices.
The social media and forums are loaded with issues and poor service complaints. There are not too many brands which are working on building quality product and services right now as the first time and second time smartphone buyers are allured by the mighty specs.
When large number of the buyers will face hardware software issues, then possibly in 2016 and 2017 the focus will be tilt more on quality and service. Currently the advertisements focus on Specs and Latest OS , in future it will be service and product quality.
Global brands like Apple, Sony, Nexus, HTC, Samsung, LG and even Motorola still are more focused on quality and not engaged in the price war.
Major Global Brands
Other than these there are also some smaller brands like Infocus & Alcatel which are also present and trying to woo the Indian Buyers. These are the names I could recall and are the top of the mind popular brands in the Indian Smartphone Domain.
The focus for global brands is different compared to the Chinese and the Indian brands. They are not focused to compete on the price but on the quality of products and after sales service.
Sony in a statement recently said when the launched the Xperia C4 and Z3 plus“ We are not competing with the brands like Xiaomi in India, our customers are different.”
Android is becoming cheaper Apple for developing countries and as mentioned by Sundar Pichai in Google I/O 2015 – out of the 10 smartphones shipped in 2015; 8 were based on Android.
I continue to see growth for Android devices in the Indian market and IOT (internet of things) in the coming year.
In total we have around 25-26 major brands and sub brands operating in the Indian smartphone market now. We may see some more brands coming in 2015 and 2016 and see the whole market expand. The expected sales for smartphones in 2015-2016 in the Indian Market may cross 150 million smartphones.
Beyond 2017 we may see some slow down and only better brands with excellent service and competitive pricing may survive.
Sources – IDC , Google I/O , Telecom/Mobile Industry Expert Opinions.