India new driver of global smartphone growth – forecast

Industry analyst Strategy Analytics has released its latest global smartphone sales forecast, in which it positions India as the new driver of global smartphone sales growth.

If we accept that the modern smartphone era began with the launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007, the first few years of growth were fuelled by developed economies such as the US, Western Europe, Japan, etc. Once the smartphone installed base reached saturation on those countries China picked up the slack, with millions of Chinese consumers upgrading from feature phones in the past few years.

China has now reached similar levels of smartphone saturation, however, so growth needs to come from elsewhere. The obvious source is India, with a population equivalent to China, but which has been slower to jump on the smartphone bandwagon. According to SA it has finally got the memo and will buy 43% more smartphones in 2015 than in 2014.

India will probably never catch China, which already accounts for almost a third of global smartphone sales, but SA is forecasting it will overtake second-placed USA by 2017. Other likely sources of smartphone growth in the coming years, not mentioned by SA, include Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria.

“China has been the engine of global smartphone growth in recent years, but China is now maturing and slowing,” said Linda Sui of SA. “India is fast becoming the next major growth wave. We forecast 118 million smartphones will be sold in India in 2015, increasing strongly to 174 million in 2017. India’s growth is being driven by low smartphone penetration, expanding retail availability of devices, wealthier middle-class consumers, and aggressive promotions from local smartphone brands like Micromax.”

In what has clearly been a busy week of forecasting for SA, the company also said it expects the global smartphone installed base to top 3 billion in 2016, that LTE handset shipments in China grew by an astonishing 748% annually in Q1 2015, and has even had the temerity to start forecasting 5G handset sales before we even know what it is.

SA smartphone forecast India

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