Nokia’s Market Share Drops Further in India

Nokia lost another 5 percent market share in India in the third quarter as a result of strong competition from Indian and Chinese vendors of mobile handsets, according to research firm IDC India.

With a market share of 31.5 percent, Nokia is still the largest vendor of handsets in the Indian market, followed by Chinese brand G'Five with about 10 percent share, IDC said on Wednesday.

G'Five had the third position in the market in the second quarter, with a 7.3 percent market share.

Nokia declined to comment on market share estimates by external parties.

Nokia's market share had already dropped to 36 percent in the second quarter, from 56.8 percent in the same quarter last year, reflecting the growing share of Chinese and Indian vendors of low-end mobile phones, according to IDC estimates in September. Nokia, however, contested the methodology and the results of the IDC survey at the time.

The India mobile handsets market got even more crowded and fragmented in the third quarter in the lower and mid-market segments, with the further entry of new players offering innovative models at attractive price points to lure buyers, IDC said.

The number of emerging vendors in India's mobile handsets market grew to 68, and they together accounted for 41.2 percent of total shipments during the third quarter.

G'Five, one of these vendors, eased Samsung out of second place in the third quarter, but it may be too early to forecast that it has dislodged Samsung from that position for the long term, said Anirban Banerjee, associate vice president for research at IDC India. In the first nine months of the year, Samsung is still the number two mobile handset vendor in the country, he added.

The share of the smaller vendors has increased significantly over the years. There were for example only five new vendors with a share of 0.9 percent in the first quarter of 2008, IDC said.

The new vendors are cutting into the share of multinational vendors as they are addressing rural and semi-urban markets with phones that are priced low, but are packed with a variety of features such as color displays, FM radio, and MP3 and MP4 players, said Anirban Banerjee, associate vice president for research at IDC India. "They are offering better value for money in markets that are very price sensitive," he said.

Nokia may have also been hurt by its delay in introducing appropriate products such as handsets that could support multiple SIMs (subscriber identity modules), Banerjee said. The company's dual-SIM products started shipping in September, he said.

Total handset shipments in the country in the third quarter were 40.1 million, up from about 25 million in the same quarter last year. The number of handsets shipped in the country during the year is forecast to be 156 million, including nearly 6 million smartphones.

Android gained acceptance in India as a mobile OS, with 9.4 percent of smartphones shipped in the third quarter based on Android, compared to 2.9 percent in the same quarter last year, IDC said. The number of models with Android OS also increased to 19 in the third quarter, up from just two models in the same quarter last year, it said.

Both small and large players are interested in the Android market, as there has been good market acceptance of these products, Banerjee said.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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