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India sells 3.1M tablets in 2012; Samsung still market leader: CMR

 The overall Indian tablet market recorded shipments of 3.1 million units in 2012, according to a report released by CyberMedia Research (CMR). In the October-December quarter itself, 1.09 million units were sold across the country, accounting for 35.33 per cent (more than one-third) of the total shipments for the entire year.

A total of 72 vendors shipped tablets to India in 2012, of which Samsung, Micromax and Apple emerged the market leaders. However, in Q4 CY2012, Karbonn overtook Apple to join Samsung and Micromax as the market leaders here. Not surprisingly, Android was the most dominant operating system (OS), followed by Apple's iOS and Windows.

"The year 2012 and particularly the last two quarters were significant for the Indian tablet market. We have seen the market for these devices grow substantially in 2012, particularly in the second half, which made up for over 70 per cent of the total sales," said Faisal Kawoosa, lead telecoms analyst at CMR.

Now phablet is a new segment

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 11.19.57 AMThe launch of Samsung's flagship Note series of smartphones saw the emergence of a new segment called phablet (phone+tablet). In 2012, phablets constituted around 16.5 per cent of the total tablet sales and this trend is expected to grow in the coming quarters. Additionally, user profiles, market dynamics and product orientation of phablets are very different from those related to traditional tablets. Hence, starting from CY2013, CMR has divided the tablets market into two separate segments – phablets and tablets. While the phablets segment currently features devices with screens of 5 inch or above, tablets include those with 7 inch or bigger screens.

"With the definite emergence of phablets as a sustainable form factor in its own right, we will now consider only devices of 7-inch screen size and above as tablets for the purpose of market analysis. Moreover, we will continue to track and report phablets as a separate category of mobile device in the hands of individual consumers and enterprise users," said Kawoosa.

Samsung's dominance

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 11.20.00 AMSamsung was the clear leader in the phablets segment in 2012, with a market share of 25.1 per cent, followed by the homegrown manufacturer Micromax (14.3 per cent) and Apple (9.1 per cent). But when it came to tablets as a standalone category (excluding phablets), the roles reversed and Micromax took the leadership position with 17.07 per cent, followed by Apple (10.88 per cent) and Samsung (10.39 per cent).

"Samsung has been able to maintain the lead in the market only because of the first-mover advantage with the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy Note II. But this is not a sustainable strategy in the long term, as it has resulted in creation of the new phablet form factor, attracting competitors at both ends of the price spectrum to follow suit. With the entrance of Apple at the top end and multiple Chinese and Indian players at the entry level, the phablet segment is only going to see increased competition in the foreseeable future," said Tarun Pathak, telecoms analyst at CMR.

Another interesting entry to the tablets segment was Datawind (the company widely mentioned for its Aakash range of tablets), which accounted for 9.64 per cent of all tablet sales in the fourth quarter of the last calendar year.

Note that CMR uses the term 'shipments' to describe the number of tablet PCs leaving the factory premises for OEM sales or stocking by distributors and retailers. It does not track the number of tablets brought in by individual passengers landing on the Indian soil from overseas destinations or the 'grey market' tablets.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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