India, second only to China in population, has passed Japan to become the third largest smartphone market on earth. Trailing only China and the U.S., India now sits comfortably behind the two market leaders, and is experiencing a huge uptick in sales growth across the smartphone board.
Android is used on about 90% of hardware made for India last quarter.
With a liberalized economy, more post-secondary education, and a rapidly growing middle class, Indians are seeing themselves with more disposable income. That income leaves Indians the ability to have nicer toys like smartphones, which itself is a booming market.
India is known for fragmentation (they have 22 official languages, and nearly 400 living languages), but also keen to embrace it. That sets the pace for device manufacturing close to home, and brand loyalty to those Indian manufacturers. A name like Micromax or Karbonn may mean nothing to us here in the United States, but they are crucial to India. As a local manufacturer, Micromax has a stealthy distribution chain throughout India, and a leg-up on outside competitors. There are over 100 mobile device brands available in India, and a majority of them are names unfamiliar to our ears.
The booming smartphone market also lends itself to many smaller network providers. India is both densely populated and sparsely traversed, meaning the chances for coverage can be limited to local carriers. There are 14 major carriers listed for India, including two state owned providers. None have over 180 million subscribers, but the middle class is expected to hit about 250 million by 2015, roughly 20 percent of the overall population.
The smartphone market in India is expanding at about 160% annually, compared to overall world growth of about 40%. If you’re doing to math, India is growing over four times as fast as everyone else, even outpacing China (86% growth year over year), and lapping the US handily (19%).
The real fun news in all of this? Android is used on about 90% of hardware made for India last quarter.