The Indian mobile handset market closed 2011 with an annual growth rate of 14.1 percent, achieving a total volume of 182 million handsets. Looking forward, the Indian handset market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 10.7 percent during the period of 2011-2017, with total handset volume expected to reach 335 million units by 2017. The market is currently led by Nokia (37.2 percent market share), with Samsung (14.9 percent), G’Five (7.5 percent) and Micromax (5.8 percent) trailing behind.

“Domestic and Chinese handset makers, such as Micromax, G’Five, Karbonn, Spice, Maxx and Lava, have a strong presence in the Indian market and have kept themselves ahead of many of the big players due to their feature-rich, localized products at much lower price points. However, with incumbent handset vendors (Nokia, Samsung) responding to the competitive threat from these companies, the battle intensifies,” says Aishwarya Singh, research analyst. “Huawei and ZTE, the two major Chinese players, have a presence in the Indian handset market through white label handsets, but have yet to make their mark under their own brand names.”

“The smartphone segment will be the fastest-growing segment and will continue to outpace the overall handset market for the foreseeable future,” says Kevin Burden, vice president and practice director, mobile devices. With a CAGR of 40 percent, the smartphone segment is expected to reach 97.2 million units by 2017, accounting for 29 percent of the total handset volume.

Nearly every major handset vendor has entered the smartphone segment, including domestic players, who after remarkable success in the feature phone segment are now eyeing the lucrative smartphone segment as well. “Competition is going to intensify as more and more domestic vendors hit the market with their range of smartphones; consequently the average selling price (ASP) for smartphones is going to decline in coming years,” comments Jake Saunders, vice president of forecasting. “The growth in the smartphone segment will be largely driven by the penetration of 3G in India and further catalyzed by falling ASPs.”

ABI Research’s new study, “Indian Mobile Device Market,” identifies the drivers for growth of the handset market in India and provides forecasts for handset shipments, 3G subscriptions and smartphone market size.