India has become the world's 3rd largest smartphone market by volume, behind China and the United States as of Q3 2014, based on our recently published report, Global Smartphone Vendor Marketshare for 15 Countries: Q3 2014, under Handset Country Share Tracker (HCST) service. India's smartphone market is growing very rapidly, mainly boosted by the huge population, relatively lower smartphone penetration, many tech-savvy people, rising influence of local vendors and online channel, and many global smartphone vendors who are rushing into this big country looking for potentially economical success. We believe that the bulk of future growth in India's smartphone market will be coming from under retail $100 prices as there are myriads of price-sensitive users in India, looking for cheaper phones.
A lot of global and local vendors are prioritizing this price-tier, under retail $100 to gain traction and lead the market share. First of all, there are already not a few smartphones priced below $80 (retail) in the market, which are powered by Android and Firefox. These ultra-affordable smartphones with modest hardware specifications and services are accounting for almost half of all smartphones sold in India in 2014, according to our published report, BRIC Country Smartphone Revenues, ASPs & Price-Tier Forecasts: 2009 to 2020 under our Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) service. Second, Google is collaborating with leading Indian vendors such as Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, and already launched a few Android One smartphones from September at a retail $100 price. Google is widening its Android One partnerships now, and will be willing to cut the price below $100 to generate the bigger share in India.
Third, Microsoft (Nokia), which has not gained much success in India with its Windowsphone OS, is focusing on lower-priced segment with its Lumia 530/630 series. In addition, as Microsoft is giving out its OS for free for all sub-8" devices, we expect more smartphones under the retail $100 to hit the Indian market, mainly driven by Micromax, Karbonn and Lava. Fourth, Andriod players such as Xiaomi and Motorola are creating more presence in India, by providing the higher-specced phones at reasonably affordable price-points, at between $90 and $110 in retail pricing, mostly through online channels, making their price advantage stand out. Finally, Samsung, the king of global smartphone market, is reportedly set to fight back with its long-awaited Tizen-based smartphone. It is reportedly known that this Tizen OS smartphone will be launched in India in mid of December at around retail US$100 price, so we estimate that Samsung is ready to go head to head in this intensely competitive segment.
More detailed analysis on the growing Indian market and on the key to success in this important market is viewed at this report, India: The Next Big Smartphone Market in the Wake of China, available to our paid clients.