India passes US to become second largest smartphone market

In fact, it's just behind China.

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Rob LeFebvre
October 27, 2017 6:02 PM
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters
Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters

The US is now the third largest smartphone market in the world, according to a new report by global technology market analyst firm Canalys. The number of smartphone shipments to India grew 23 percent in the third quarter of this year, reaching just over 40 million units shipped. That makes India the second largest smartphone market, just behind number one China. Sorry, US, but you're in third place now.

The brands selling the most in India? Samsung and Xiaomi, which sent 9.4 million and 9.2 million smartphones to India, respectively, account for almost half of the entire Indian smartphone market in the country. "This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India's market potential are clearly dispelled by this result," said Canalys' Ishan Dutt. "There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers."

The top five vendors in India, including Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo, account for 75 percent of the total shipments in India, according to the report. While Samsung is a top seller, Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi believes that inexpensive smartphone maker Xiaomi will soon over take the Korean company "within a couple of quarters." Still, it's not just low-end phones making inroads in the country. Apple only started local production in India this year, and iPhone shipments have more than doubled to 900,000 units in the third quarter.

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