India overtakes the U.S. to become world’s second largest smartphone market
India is now the world’s second largest smartphone market, behind China. That pushes the U.S. down to third spot for the first time.
According to Canalys data, India shipped 40 million phones in the third quarter of this year, 23 percent higher than the same period in 2016. That momentum was responsible for propelling India past the U.S. China overtook the U.S. in 2011 to become the world’s largest.
Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi said India has been working to improve its network coverage, and as more people get reliable 4G access, that’s helped push demand for mobile devices too. India, the second most populous country in the world, with 1.3 billion people, is on track to have just under 300 million smartphone users in the country by year end.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, the vendors winning India are premium Android makers with affordable models. Samsung and Xiaomi in particular, are neck-to-neck, with Xiaomi rocketing past Lenovo (last year’s second place) to put up a close fight with Samsung. Samsung, which shipped about 7 million phones in India’s 2016 third quarter, pushed that number to 9.4 million this year to keep the lead.
But most impressively, Xiaomi, which had under 3 million phones sold in Q3 last year, tripled that figure this year to hit 9.2 million smartphones.
Looking at the chart’s green bars below, you can see that everyone else is pretty much left in the dust.
Earlier this year, the Indian government was pushing for really budget smartphones of lower than $30, in hopes that this would push mobile adoption — and consequently mobile e-payment — in the country. But from the top five vendor list, it’s clear that everyone wants premium smartphones, even if they aren’t buying the top-of-the-line flagships.
Xiaomi, for its part, has aggressively courted India as its main focus outside its home market of China. In May, it started opening brick and mortar stores in Bangalore, indicating it was confident of brand awareness in the country.