India had overtaken the United States last year to become the second largest country in terms of the number of mobile handsets in a single year. The handset sector had registered an exponential growth with almost 300 million devices sold in 2017.
Till early 2016, the Indian mobile manufacturers as well as foreign players from Korea, China and others were competing against each other to dominate one of the fastest growing sectors of the Indian economy.
The Indian mobile manufacturing companies were offering sub Rs 7,000 category phones with long batteries and numerous features which suited the demand. But in the last two years, Indian players seem to have lost the plot as the foreign players, especially from China, have taken over the market.
Micromax had a 16 percent share of the Indian smartphone market in the final quarter of the financial year 2016. Its share substantially dropped to only five percent in final quarter of the financial year 2017.
The performance of the Indian players fell so drastically that presently not even a single company is in the top 5.
New Chinese entrant Xiaomi, who launched its India operations in 2014, has taken over the sub Rs 7,000 segment including other Chinese players Oppo and Vivo which unleashed an aggressive campaign with a capital of almost $400 million to grab the major part of the Indian markets.
A telecom research firm, telecom watcher shows that the top Indian mobile manufacturers lost its market sales by whopping 79 percent during October 2017 and May 2018, the Economic Times reported.
The demand for cheap smartphone is expected to continue growing with additional impetus provided by Reliance Jio Infocomm's free voice services and cheap data plans. The highly competitive markets require new technology and feature every month in order to sustain.
But the local players seem to have missed the bus in terms of technology up-gradation. Micromax has shifted its attention towards consumer appliances where the technology upgradation is not required on a monthly basis and a better margin.
The step is evident from the fact that Micromax has been spending huge sums on marketing appliances like air coolers, air-con, washing machines and television sets.
With Apple making efforts to put up a manufacturing unit in India, the fight is expected to get tougher in the coming future.