Indian handset market grows amid global slowdown

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The Indian mobile handset market bucked the global trend of a slowdown and instead grew by 6 per cent in the first quarter of 2012 even as worldwide sales dropped by 2 per cent, said a market research firm, reports the Times of India.

According to Gartner, the Indian smartphone market grew by 17 per cent, although, feature phones still dominated the 226 million Indian handset industry. This is the first time since 2009 that globally there has been a decline in sales of mobile phones said Gartner.

In India although there has been a growth, retailers said that there the country witnessed a slight slowdown due to price hikes at the back of a weak rupee in the last few months.

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Mobile device sales in India are forecast to reach 231 million units in 2012, with a 8.5 per cent annual growth over 2011 sales of 213 million units, according to Gartner.

“In the last four months we have seen that growth has been slightly impacted due to the price hikes. This is across consumer durable, electronics and mobile phones. The consumer in the Rs 5,000-10 ,000 has been most affected,” said Nilesh Gupta, managing partner, Vijay Sales, a Mumbai based retailer.

Mobile handset makers have effected a price hike of around 3-5 per cent in the last quarter as the Indian rupee weakened against the US dollar. Finnish mobile handset maker Nokia led the overall market in India while Samsung became numero uno in the fastgrowing smartphone segment.

“There is a huge amount of growth that is still to come in as far as smartphones go. From 6 per cent of the overall market smartphone have inched up by a percentage point in a year which leave a lot of room for growth,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst,  Gartner.

He said that Nokia’s thin lead over Samsung in the overall feature phone market may also be threatened. “It is not clear as to for how long Nokia will be able to maintain their lead in the feature phone market,” he said. Globally, for the first time Samsung overtook Nokia and became the number one cellphone brand in April this year.

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