India tablet sales fall 16%, but 4G picks up in Jan-Mar 2017

The tablet market in India continues to shrink as phones become larger and larger, numbers from CyberMedia Research showed, but more and more people are opting for connected tablets with 3G and 4G options built-in.

The total number of tablet PCs sold in India fell 16% in the first three months of this year when compared to the first three months of 2016, CMR said, adding that the decline was of 6% when compared with the last three months of 2016.

Datawind continued its top position during 1Q CY’ 2017, with 34% market share. iBall was at number 2 position with 16% market share followed by Samsung (15%).

The decline of tablet sales should not come as a surprise, given how momentum has shifted towards large-screen handsets.

While tablets are generally defined as devices with screen sizes of at least 7 inches, many phone models already have 5.5-6.0 inch screens — seen as an optimum compromise between ‘pocketability’ and having enough screen real estate for video and browsing.

However, hiding within the overall decline is a churn in technology.

The number of 2G tablets, for example, fell 62% in January-March compared to the previous three months of October-December — a sharp fall by any yardstick.

Even Wifi-only tablet sales fell 33%.

On the increase were 3G devices, which rose 31%, and those with 4G, up 15%.

“The continuous decline in the Tablet space could be attributed to the lack of promotional activities in the space. Aadhaar has, of course, provided a lot of impetus to the market, but at the same time B-To-C consumption entirely depends on the promotional activities and some exciting features. Aadhaar has led to a rise in government orders, which is a positive factor for the market,” said Menka Kumari, who is the lead analyst at the tablet research group at CMR.

The Tablet market within the price category of Rs 10-20K and less than Rs 5K witnessed 48% and 4% sequential growth, respectively, during the quarter.

On the other hand, the price category of INR 20-30K saw a sharp 61% sequential decline and the Rs 5,000-10K witnessed 26% decline as compared to the last quarter in terms of units shipped.


CMR expects 4G Tablets to reach 50% of the sales by volumes by the end of this year.

So far, 4G availability in India has reached 81.56%.

The GST regime is also going to affect the Tablets market, but the magnitude would be gauged after its implementation as still a lot of clarity is expected on its implementation front, the market research firm said.

4G devices were growing at single-digits two years ago, but with the growth of 4G connectivity, the 4G Tablets segment accelerated to double-digits.

“The upward trend in 4G market growth would continue and we anticipate the 4G Tablet market to clock 50% in CY’ 2017,” Menka added.

“The smartphone market has moved towards 4G and the Tablets segment would also follow the same trend. The demand for SIM-enabled devices will continue to grow, while Wi-Fi enabled devices will continue to see demand from the student community,” Menka concluded.

Android-based Tablets have already captured the majority of the market, while Windows-based Tablets have seen continuous decline in India market. It seems this scenario is not likely to change in the coming quarters also.