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4G Phones To Drive Smartphone Growth, Says IDC

28.3 million smartphones were shipped in the third quarter of 2015, a rise of 21.4 per cent from 23.3 million units in the same period last year

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With leading telecom companies preparing to start their 4G services soon, shipments of 4G-enabled handsets have seen a surge in India.

According to industry data, most smartphones shipped in October 2015 were 4G-enabled.

Some 28.3 million smartphones were shipped in the third quarter of 2015, a rise of 21.4 per cent from 23.3 million units in the same period last year.

The 4G-enabled devices witnessed a three-fold increase in the third quarter in unit shipments over the second quarter of 2015.

"With 25.9 per cent month-on-month growth, 4G based smartphone accounted for more than half of smartphones shipped in October. This gain is mainly at the expense of 3G enabled handsets as vendors are replacing their existing models with 4G based smartphones while making consumers future proof," said Kiran Kumar, research manager for client devices at IDC India.

The total inbound smartphone shipment to India witnessed a decline in October post festive season as 9.3 million smartphones were shipped in October 2015 compared to 10 million units in September, according to International Data Corporation’s India monthly smartphone tracker.

"Owing to attractive discounts and offers during online mega sales, online shipments of smartphones grew 12.1 per cent in October over the previous month. This boosted the online share further from 33.5 per cent in September 2015 to 41.2 per cent in October 2015, primarily driven by Samsung and Lenovo,” said Karthik J, senior market analyst for client sevices at IDC India.

This decline was attributed to incremental supplies witnessed during last weeks of September as the channels prepared for October’s festive demand and online mega sales from major ecommerce players.

"Online mega sales not only encouraged vendors to increase shipments online, but also facilitated the launch of many new models to accommodate the huge end user demand during the month of October,” Karthik said.

Samsung’s On5 and On7, Lenovo’s Vibe P1, Oneplus 2, Apple’s iphone 6s are few of the many new models that incrementally contributed to the online volume in October 2015, IDC said.

These new models also contributed to a sharp spike in 4G's share of smartphones in October.

Top 3 Chinese vendors - Lenovo Group, Xiaomi and Vivo - together grew 18 per cent month-over-month in October. Lenovo Group is one of the key drivers for this growth with considerable volume of shipments coming from its new line up of smartphones like A1000, Vibe P1, and A6010.

On the other hand, in October, more than half of Xiaomi’s smartphones shipped in India were locally manufactured and with Redmi Note Prime too joining local production line up.

IDC anticipates November to have maintained a similar shipment run-rate. Traction of 4G-based smartphones will only grow further as Reliance Jio’s 4G based phones are expected to hit the market by end of CY 2015.