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October 19, 2017


Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Meanwhile in regional market news, Canalys has a Top 5 account of India's smartphone market. Ranking: Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo & Lenovo. I am personally surprised that the domestic India brands have now all fallen out of the Top 5. Meanwhile for iPhone fans, Canalys counts Apple's market share at under 2%. Total India smartphone market has now eclipsed that of the USA trailing of course China. (India was already for years the second largest handset market but with most sales having been low-cost basic phones, the smartphone market size of India was ranked 3rd, until now).

Canalys reports India smartphone quarterly unit sales now to be 40 million and growing 23% year-on-year. Please note, much of that 'smartphone market growth rate' is the TRANSITION out of the migration rate, not that the absolute phone market would be growing anywhere near that fast in India. Still, if we compare to the numbers out from Gfk just a few days ago, India alone is now larger than the whole of Western Europe by smartphone sales. As Gfk groups Africa with Middle East, it is almost certain, that India alone is also larger than either Africa or the Middle East alone. Finally counting the 'Emerging Asia' poorer parts of the region, of that market, when China is removed like with Gfk numbers, India accounts for nearly 2/3 out of the 'rest of developing Asia'. But against China? One China is as big as Three Indias by smartphone unit volume of sales haha (even more if taking into account purchase price)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen


I took a quick look online of the smaller brands for India. Micromax seems to be doing best of them, and is saying they're selling about 1 million of their smartphones per quarter. iPhone sold 900,000 units according to Canalys. Meanwhile... Nokia was reported to have 1 million Amazon India orders in August. We could have a 'bottom Top 10' race with very VERY even performances by Micromax, iPhone and yes... Nokia !!!

Three-way race. The local boy, the American rich kid's toy, and the Finnish comeback kid, all running neck-to-neck in the world's second largest handset market (in the second tier, in the bottom of the Top 10 obviously)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Jim Glue

It's amazing that the iPhone would be in the top 10 in India (if I read that right).

Let's wait five years and see where Apple is. It took time for Apple to develop their China presence and it's taking time in India as well. For Apple, it's all about the size and growth of the middle class. India has (as of now) nothing like the size of the Chinese middle class.

The story would be immediately obvious if the ASP's were given. I sincerely doubt the Galaxy S 8 or Galaxy Note 8 are having tremendous sales in India.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Jim

Yeah, the iPhone has about 2% market share (just under) and that is roughly where the 10th ranking tends to be. It is what we've known for some time. Not amazing. Amazingly bad. Most of the world is more like India than like the USA and the more the rest of the world gets into smartphones, the more the total market share of iPhone shifts nearer to India and more and more away from the share it has in the USA.

Meanwhile NOKIA... if Nokia are already knocking on 2% in India, within their first year, that would be TREMENDOUSLY good news. I will wait until we get the first measurements, of whether that initial online Amazon India interest was sustainable and if the various retailers in India are warming up to the brand. But India is a market where the HMD brand is doing a lot of local PR work, telling everybody that Nokia brand is manufactured in India etc.

Meanwhile, the next big hurdles for HMD are a carrier deal in China, and Brazil.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Jim Glue

Amazingly bad to have 2% of a market with ASP's near $600 while the competition ASP's are likely under $150?

Apple doesn't target below the middle class...anywhere. Not in China, not in India, nowhere else. To have 2% of the unit volume of an extremely large, but very poor nation, well...I'd take it.

It would be interesting to have installed base figures for India as I'm betting there are a good deal of used iPhones sold in India that aren't reflected in the sales figures.


This got me thinking: as you have forecasted the end of dumbphones to happen around year 2019 (when 100% of new phones sold would be smartphones), has something changed around 2010-2013 that has affected the trend, causing your forecast to fail?

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Asko

Great question. No, nothing 'noticable' or drastic happened in that time frame or before or after either. I had long term forecasts and in them assumptions of adoption rates and transition rates and multiple phone ownership rates, used phone ratios, replacement cycle, etc. Most of them were on an S-curve type of path, and mostly (in late 2000s decade) all were still in the 'up swing' part of the S-Curve and I had to anticipate not just that the S-Curve would turn to slow down, but attempt to pinpoint WHEN the increasing rate turned into declining rate (of growth).

As you'll recall, I was first here on the blog to warn my readers many years ago, that the 2019 initial target date would not be hit, that the final point of the last new dumbphones to be sold was slipping to 2020 or further behind.

But as for a long term forecast, when nobody else has that kind of number, my forecast had a good deal of value to anyone considering this industry at the time, and I am very proud of it, even as its obvious by now that it will have been somewhat too optimistic in its time scale. Even so, even when I MADE that forecast, I was in a very small minority of experts to say all phones would one day become smartphones haha.

But that is the nature of the beast. If you are in the forecasting racket, EVERY forecast will always be wrong, you just hope you tend to be less wrong than the others..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Bahçe Market

Thank you for this writing

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