For the first time since the advent of mobile phones in the 1990s, sales of feature phones fell in the July-to-September quarter, mostly because of the meteoric rise in smartphone sales in the country.
According to CyberMedia Research, which tracks mobile phone shipments, the quarter saw feature phone sales drop by 0.8 per cent, compared to the same quarter in the previous year. Smartphones grew 152.3 per cent in the July-to-September quarter.
The shift is sudden, considering that in 2012, feature phones grew at 19.9 per cent. In the July-to-September quarter of this year, 51.8 million feature phones and 11.1 million smartphones were shipped.
In revenue terms, according to another global research firm, the shift has been more drastic. In the July-to-September quarter of 2011, feature phones accounted for 78 per cent of the $3.3-billion mobile phone market.
In the same quarter of 2013, they accounted for only 42.3 per cent of the $3.5-billion market, largely because home-grown brands such as Micromax and Karbonn offered smartphones at much lower prices. Smartphones are taking over fast, and feature phones could soon be a thing of the past.