The Reliance JioPhone was launched in July last year. It was among the first feature phones in India to support 4G VoLTE along with additional perks that ordinary feature phones lacked. The launch of this phone also gave rise to the overall feature phone market in the country as well as the world. According to CounterPoint, during the first quarter of 2018, JioPhone held the maximum market share of the total feature phone segment in the world.
The same report has ranked top 5 brands as per the number of shipments and market share worldwide. Reliance is leading the pack with 15% of the total market share. Just behind that is Nokia HMD with 14% share. Both are followed by Itel, Samsung and Tecno with 13%, 6% and 6% market share respectively. Feature phones have gained a lot of momentum recently, especially in the last year.
A lot of the newly launched feature phones in India are tie-ups between telecom operators and OEMs. This allows them to offer the phone at an effective price much lower than the MRP. In JioPhone’s case, the effective price was literally zero. Similarly, Itel tied up with telecom operators like Airtel and Vodafone to come up with a similar offer.
India alone contributes to around 43% of the total feature phone shipments in the world. Just when it seemed that smartphones will soon takeover feature phones, the tides have turned, at least in India. The feature phone market has grown tremendously and has witnessed a 48% YoY (Year on Year) growth over the last year. Whereas, the smartphone shipments have stayed flat in the past year.
One of the primary reasons has to be the low cost. India has always inclined towards budget phones and even though smartphones are constantly getting cheaper, feature phones are an ideal choice. Most of the first time phone users are opting for a feature phone which has given a huge rise to its growing market share.