Samsung sales grow 38% in India, Nokia, RIM down

If 2010-11 was the year of the Indian mobilephone brands, 2011-12 has been the year when they’ve crash landed to reality, according to the latest Voice & Data survey.

Barring Karbonn and Lava, all the Indian mobile phone brands such as Micromax and Spice saw drops in their revenues in 2011-12, according to the survey.

It was, of course, no better for most of the foreign brands either.

In fact, the only winners in the Indian mobile phone market last year were Samsung and HTC. Samsung grew its revenue by 38% to Rs 7,891 crore (about $1.6 billion), while HTC doubled its revenue to Rs 923 crore from Rs 450 crore.

Surprisingly, Samsung’s Galaxy Note, a hybrid between smartphone and tablet, has been selling 40,000 units each month since launch in late 2011, the survey found. The phone was widely panned for being too big for a phone and too small for a tablet.

“Voice & Data analysts attribute Samsung’s success to its rich product portfolio based on Windows, Android and Bada operating systems,” the magazine, from the Cyber Media group, said.

Taiwanese handset maker HTC saw maximum growth – 105%–among all the brands surveyed by Voice&Data. HTC’s revenue more than doubled to a 3% market share.

Six of the top 10 players in the Indian mobile handset market saw their revenue decline in the last financial year and five saw double-digit declines.

Samsung continued to close in on Nokia in the Indian market. While it was only 44% the size of Nokia in India in 2010-11 (in revenue terms), that number rose to 66% last year.

Nokia’s revenue declined by 8%, according to the magazine’s survey.

“The Finnish company lost market share in smartphones and multi-media segment to Samsung, HTC and Apple, among others.

“Nokia that caters to all mobile segments saw its absence in the Android ecosystem dent its performance. Nokia however, made a head way in the dual SIM phones category but lost out in the smartphone market. Nokia ended FY12, with a market share of 38.2%,” V&D said.

Among the biggest losers was LG Electronics, which seems to have lost track of its smartphone strategy in India. Hit by relentless competition and innovation from Samsung, LG saw a steep 57% decline in revenue to Rs 780 crore.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion and Chinese brand G’Five also saw the biggest decline — 25% — among global brands in their Indian market last year (click on chart above.)

Due to the rapidly falling prices of mobile phones, the total revenue of the handset industry in India also shrunk 5% to Rs 31,215 crore, V&D said.

The biggest news in the numbers is perhaps the disappearance of the smaller brands. Several Indian mobile distributors had started their own mobile phone brands, buying in bulk from China and then slapping on their own labels before sending them on to dealers.

The disappearing act done by the homegrown handset makers was a big surprise of the year Barring Karbonn and Lava, none of the Indian handset players could face intense competition. Their main stay—feature phones—saw a negative growth while the entry level smartphones of various companies saw a marginal rise, V&D said.

“Indian mobile phone brands that had hoped to make a mark by sourcing Chinese handsets and selling them only on the price plank were in for a big surprise. These players will have to quickly rethink their product, marketing and service strategy afresh to put their house in order,” Ibrahim Ahmad, Group Editor, Voice&Data, pointed out.

It may be noted that the survey is not based on official numbers given out by the companies, but on estimates built on information provided by dealers and others.