Indian handset vendors are staring at a battle for survival in the face of a Chinese onslaught, having been pushed out of the top five in smartphones even as migration to this category slows down, technology research firm IDC said.
Homebred players such as Lava, Karbonn, Intex and Micromax, which have been dominating the feature phone segment, now face challenges in that segment too from Chinese players.
In the smartphone market, the share of China-based vendors touched a whopping 46 percent in the past quarter, with their shipments doubling from the same period last year. The share of homegrown vendors, meanwhile, slipped to 19 percent.
Jaipal Singh, Market Analyst for client devices, IDC India, said, "This is the first time when none of the homegrown vendors were able to make their position in the top five."
Trouble for local players is going to aggravate further as China-based vendors have now entered the high volume feature phone market.
China's Transmission Group, which entered the Indian market in the April-June quarter last year with Itel brand, became the No 2 player behind Samsung with a 7.5 percent share in the overall mobile phone market, with aggressive shipments of feature phones in the fourth quarter.
Navkendar Singh, Senior Research Manager for client devices, IDC India, said, "The feature phone segment is likely to contribute the majority of mobile phone shipments in 2017; the migration to smartphones is expected to further slow down due to the introduction of low-cost 4G feature phones and its continued relevance to its sizeable target consumer."
Smartphone shipments in the quarter ended December 2016 were flat on year at 25.8 million units, but declined 20.3 percent the previous quarter. The firm attributed this mainly to a seasonal decline after an all-time high festival quarter and the impact of demonetisation in Novem ber.
In 2017, replacement demand would drive most of the smartphone shipments, IDC said. The tough-year predic tions follow a marginal 5.2 percent expansion in 2016, during which 109.1 million smartphones were shipped.