Indians will buy 21.5 crore phones this year: Gartner

Indians bought 5.14 crore (51.4 million) mobile phones in the three months from April to June this year, international IT market research firm Gartner’s India unit has said. In other words, one in nine phones is sold in India.

For the full year, it said, Indians will buy around 215 million (21.5 crore) mobile devices in 2011.

The number is illuminating for two reasons. One: it shows that the market has nearly doubled from around 2 to 3 years ago, when the overall market was estimated at 100 million or 10 crore handsets a year.

Second, it shows that a substantial chunk of India’s new phone connections are actually being used in the long term. In other words, many had expressed doubts about how many of the 20 crore or so new connections issued by mobile operators in India every year are put to use and how many are simply discarded after a few days.

Even assuming that around half of the new phones are bought because the old phone stopped working or had to be disposed off (replacement market), that still leaves an actual expansion of around 10 crore (100 million) new connections in the market every year.

The number also gives a rough idea about the size of the handset market in India. At an average price of around Rs 3,000, 21.5 crore phones would yield a market of Rs 64,500 crore ($14.3 billion), making mobile phones a bigger market than TVs and refrigerators and others.

Also see details of the full report here Global mobile market grows fast at 16.5% in Q2; Nokia still no. 1: Gartner