In a somewhat surprising shift in the market, shipments (sold to retailers) of feature phones in India have doubled in the first quarter of 2018 (Q1 2018) year-on-year while the smartphone market remained flat in the same period. Overall, the Indian mobile phone market grew by 48% YoY in Q1 2018. These findings were published by research firm Counterpoint Research. The growth in feature phone category was driven by the increasing popularity of the JioPhone. According to the report, Jio now captures more than one-third (in terms of shipment) of the total featurephone market – the highest ever in a single quarter, since what Nokia achieved at its peak. The phone has shown surprising growth in a world dominated by smartphones, since it was launched in July 2017. Within half a year of its launch (by December 2017), it managed to become the top feature phone brand in India by shipments, overthrowing market leader in the segment Samsung. This is in part because of the deal it offers: the phone is effectively free, available for a refundable deposit of Rs 1500. Samsung stood second in the category, but its market share reduced drastically—from 25.4% in Q1 2017 to 9.8% in Q1 2018. Itel was the third largest player in the feature phone segment with 17% growth YoY in Q1 2018. Smartphones Xiaomi continued to be the highest-selling smartphone brand in India this quarter in terms of shipment, and showed a quarterly increase in its market share by 6%—touching 31% in…
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