Jio Phones top feature phone, overall handset Indian market in 2018: Counterpoint Research

By Digit NewsDesk | Published on 27 Jan 2019

According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi led the Indian smartphone market in 2018 as overall India mobile phone shipments crossed 330 Million units for the first time ever.

Jio Phones top feature phone, overall handset Indian market in 2018: Counterpoint Research

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  • Reliance Jio leads in both feature phones and the overall handset market
  • Xiaomi leads the India smartphone market
  • Overall India mobile phone shipments crossed 330 million units for the first time ever


It looks like the feature phone is not dead, at least not yet. According to market research firm, Counterpoint reseach, Jio Phones topped the feature phone as well as the overall mobile handset market in India in 2018. It also added that Xiaomi ruled the smartphone market the previous year. It also said that India's overall mobile phone shipments grew 11 percent and smartphone shipments grew 10 percent with feature phones growing faster than smartphones at 11 percent. The country was also the fastest-growing smartphone market in 2018 with an annual growth rate of 10 percent.

“India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China and it has just surpassed 430 million smartphone user base. However, this accounts for just 45 percent of the potential total addressable market for smartphones. This was one the key reasons for its growth in 2018 where not only new users shifted towards smartphones but there was a healthy upgrade within price tiers, especially from entry-level smartphones to the mid-tier segment,” Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, said in a statement.

With a market share of 21 percent, Jio was the overall market leader across all handset types in 2018. In terms of shipments, the spot has been held by Samsung since 2012 when it dethroned Nokia. Samsung was also the category leader in feature phones since 2015. In terms of revenue, the market grew with a growth rate of 19 percent during 2018 with Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Apple being the market leaders by revenue.

“This is the first time the feature phone market grew faster than the smartphone market. India remains the largest market in terms of global feature phone volume. India and Middle East are driving the feature phone market, capturing almost 3/4th of global feature phone sales in 2018. This highlights that while India is a fast-growing smartphone market, feature phones remain relevant for a large section of the population. Reliance Jio captured 38 percent of the feature phone segment and the Jio Monsoon Hungama offer focusing on upgrading 2G feature phone users, helped it to drive sales during the second half of 2018,” added Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research.

Despite losing the number one spot, Samsung still managed to grow faster than the overall smartphone market. Xiaomi recorded its highest ever shipments in India during 2018, thanks to its strong product portfolio, and aggressive channel strategy as it expanded its offline reach in India. Vivo’s performance during the year remained strong as it streamlined its channel with its flagship V series of phones doing well as compared to previous years.

Throughout the year, the top five smartphone positions didn’t change much except in the fourth quarter when Realme entered the top five smartphone brands, surpassing Oppo. Chinese brands registered their strongest ever annual performance in India capturing a record 60 percent smartphone market share up from 54 percent during 2017. Online share of smartphone shipments reached a record 36 percent during the year.

“The competitive landscape has changed significantly in the last year. We saw key players gaining share while smaller brands exited the market as competition intensified. However, this doesn’t mean there is no room for new players. Realme, which started operations in Q2 2018, entered the top five brands in 4Q 2018, reaching more than 4 million users faster than any other brand. Going forward, we expect brands to consolidate their positions by driving multi-channel and aggressive product strategies in a bid to target users beyond Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” added Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.

The research firm says that Tecno was the fastest growing smartphone brand in 2018 with 221 percent growth. It was followed by Honor with 183 percent growth, Infinix (146 percent), Nokia HMD (138 percent) and Asus (76 percent). OnePlus which grew 58 percent year-on-year (YoY) was the fastest growing premium smartphone brand. The Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 segment was the fastest growing segment (53 percent) driven by Vivo, Oppo and Samsung. Last year, Rs 10,000 - Rs 15,000 was the fastest growing segment.

Related Read:

Overall iPhone sales down 20% YoY in November: Counterpoint Research

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