More than 221 million mobile handsets shipped in India during CY 2012, a Y-o-Y growth of 20.8%; Nokia retains overall leadership



Smartphone shipments cross 15 million units, 2H numbers grow 75.2% HY-o-HY; Samsung still the favourite but Sony and Indian players make their mark through differentiated offerings

According to CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2012, March 2013 release, India registered 221.6 million mobile handset shipments for CY (January-December) 2012. During the same period, 15.2 million smartphones were shipped in the country.

Table 1. India Mobile Handsets Market: CY 2012 versus CY 2011 (in terms of unit shipments)

Form Factor


(CY 2011)


(CY 2012)

Year-on-Year Growth, CY 2012 over CY 2011 (%)

Half Year-on-Half Year Growth, 2H 2012 over 1H 2012 (%)

Mobile Handsets















Source: CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2012, March 2013 release

A comparison of overall mobile handset shipments and featurephone shipments shows a direct correlation for the India mobile handsets market rankings. Market shares are somewhat similar for the top three players across the overall market and the featurephones segment, as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. India Mobile Handsets Market: Leading Players, CY 2012 (% of unit shipments)


Rank – Overall

Share – Overall
(% of unit shipments)

Rank – Featurephones segment

Share – Featurephones segment
(% of unit shipments of featurephones)
















Source: CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2012, March 2013 release

Commenting on the results, Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “Although we see a huge market ‘hype’ around smartphones, the fact remains that the India Mobile Handsets market is still dominated by shipments of featurephones. On the other hand smartphone shipments are growing fast. This indicates India is still a ‘new phone’ market, where featurephones contribute to the bulk of shipments compared to replacements or upgrades.”

“This propensity on the part of Indian subscribers of mobile telephony services to purchase large numbers of featurephones has paved the way for the establishment of Indian brands, which are largely focused on this segment.”

India Smartphones Market

The India smartphones market during 2H 2012 saw a rise in shipments by 75.2% over and above the 1H 2012 number, taking the overall contribution of smartphones to 6.8% for the full year. In fact, during 2H 2012, smartphone shipments stood at 8.1% of the country’s total mobile handset shipments. While BlackBerry was at third spot during 1H 2012, Sony Mobiles displaced the former if we examine numbers for the full CY 2012.

Table 3. India Mobile Handsets Market: Leading Smartphone Players, CY 2012
(in terms of % of unit shipments)



Share (% of unit shipments of smartphones)







Sony Mobiles



* Smartphone shipments reported here for Samsung for CY 2011 and CY 2012 do not include shipments of ‘phablet’ (> 5″ screen size) models such as the Samsung Galaxy Note and the Samsung Galaxy Note II.

Source: CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, CY 2012, March 2013

Commenting on these results, Tarun Pathak, Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “The India smartphones segment has very distinct characteristics vis-à-vis the overall market. We believe the struggle for leadership in the India smartphones market is going to intensify through 2013 as vendors bring new form factors to market.”

“Players such as Samsung, HTC and Sony Mobiles will increasingly try to establish leadership through differentiated offerings and by promising a ‘seamless’ experience across the four consumer screens – smartphone, tablet, PC and TV. At the same time, home grown vendors such as Micromax, Karbonn and Lava will try to make a mark against their global competitors, by bringing to market powerful, yet attractively priced smartphones in an attempt to widen their appeal and grow the overall smartphone user base”, Tarun added.

Notes for Editors

  1. This release is a part of the CyberMedia Research (CMR) Smart Mobility Market Programme.
  2. CyberMedia Research (CMR) uses the term “shipments” to describe the number of handsets leaving the factory premises for OEM sales or stocking by distributors and retailers. For the convenience of media, the term shipments has been replaced by ‘sales’ in the press release, but this reflects the market size in terms of units of mobile handsets and not their absolute value. In the case of handsets imported into the country it represents the number leaving the first warehouse to OEMs, distributors and retailers. CyberMedia Research does not track the number of handsets brought on their person by individual passengers landing on Indian soil from overseas destinations or ‘grey market’ handsets. These are, therefore, not part of the CyberMedia Research numbers reported here.
  3. CyberMedia Research (CMR) tracks shipments of mobile handsets on a monthly basis. However, as per convention, the market size is reported on a calendar quarter basis where appropriate to the context; in all such cases this refers to an aggregated number for the three calendar months in the quarter to which the press release refers.