With a 26 percent market share (by shipment), Reliance Jio has become the leading feature phone brand in the country in the fourth quarter last year, Counterpoint Research said on Wednesday, thanks to its Jio Phone handset. Samsung was second, with a 15 percent market share in Q4 2017, followed by Micromax with a 9 percent share, Itel with a 7 percent share, and HMD Global's Nokia brand with a 6 percent share. Other brands made up 37 percent of the market in Q4 2017.
Notably, as per the Counterpoint report, Samsung had a leading 21 percent market share in the feature phone segment for the whole year. Itel was second, with a 12 percent share, followed by Reliance Jio at 11 percent share. Micromax was next, with a 9 percent share, followed by Lava in the fourth position with a 7 percent share. Other brands made up 40 percent of the market.
The Rs. 1,500 JioPhone supplies were higher in the late Q4 and the device managed to bridge the demand vs supply gap, Counterpoint noted.
"One of the key reason for the sale of this phone was record pre-orders (6 million) plus many feature phone users found it a worthy upgrade," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint, told IANS.
"These users have always used the similar form factor device for voice usage but using data on a similar form factor ensured that users didn't need to go through a huge learning curve when it comes to using data on smartphones," Pathak added.
The positioning of Jio Phone as a smartphone effectively as a "free" phone also worked for the company.
"Additionally, the strategy involving cashback after a couple of years in the feature phone segment makes more sense than cashback in low-end smartphones which don't enjoy such high-shelf life," Pathak added.
The company announced the launch of 4G and VoLTE-enabled JioPhone on July 21 last year, available free of cost with a deposit money of Rs 1,500.
Aimed at over 50 crore feature phone users, the 2.4-inch device has 2-megapixel rear camera and houses 2000mAh battery. The JioPhone has a single Nano-SIM slot and a microSD card slot.