Tablet sales in India peaked at 5.5 lakh units in the second quarter of 2012, growing 59%, as per a report by CyberMedia Research (CMR).
Micromax emerged as the leader in market share as its shipments accounted for 18.4% of tablet sales in India in Q2 2012.
South Korean multinational Samsung Electronics captured 13.3% of total tablet sales. Apple had the 3rd highest market share as the company’s products accounted for 12.3% of all the tablets sold during the period in India. 90 vendors had launched their devices in this market segment by Q2 2012.
Apple, the world’s most valued company, dominates tablet sales in mature markets like US with the iconic iPad. However it is yet to make a top level impact on Indian shores. As CMR notes, the tablet market in India is ‘nascent’. The staggering growth of tablet sales is noticed in the budget and entry level product segment with average sale value of approximately Rs. 13,000 per unit.
"As Android devices become increasingly popular with users across the world, competition is increasing in the India Tablets market with more and more vendors launching devices based on the Android OS." said an analyst at CMR.
Windows based Surface tablet is yet to make a notable impact in India while iOS based iPad 2 and 3 are currently priced a little higher than what the average Indian considers value for money. Blogs and forums are buzzing with rumours about a speculated 7 inch iPad Mini being launched in the future, which may have a wipe out effect in its market segment.
The CMR report also highlighted the most demanded features in tablets by Indian buyers. Nearly 7 out of 10 tablets sold had Wi-Fi connectivity while 8 out of 10 had a 7 inch display. As market shares suggest, nearly 9 out of 10 tablets were based on the Android OS.
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Phone connectivity does not seem to be a buyer preference as 83.5% of the tablet shipments were for devices without call features. Unlike a smartphone, a good camera was also not in some of the trending consumer requirements in a tablet. For a lay person, a tablet’s positioning between a smartphone and a laptop makes it hard to put a finger on its exact utility value.
This could be driving buyers towards cheaper alternatives, a trend that may balance as the market matures. For the time being however, established and new players are entering the market with affordable devices in and around the sub Rs. 10,000 range, scoring a hit with budget conscious consumers.
Recent trends have highlighted the potential of the outreach of budget tablets and even how their point-of-sales are becoming strong marketing channels. These numbers and reports are providing support to the hype around a market that is peaking and set to explode further. Tablet sales are likely to move up the ladder and eventually contribute significantly to the growing Indian PC market in the future as mobility becomes a necessity, rather than a luxury.