Smartphones popular, but not in India

Smartphones may be a worldwide hit, but they have yet to catch on in India.

According to a new report from Nielsen, just 10 percent of mobile phone customers in India own a smartphone. That’s well below the rate not only of developed countries like the United States, but also of India’s fellow nations in the so-called BRIC group: China, Russia and Brazil.

It’s also well below the global average. According to a study last summer, 38 percent of mobile subscribers worldwide have a smartphone.

Among the BRIC  countries, smartphones are most popular in China, according to Nielsen. Some 66 percent of mobile subscribers in China have smartphones. That’s an even higher ratio than in the United States where, as of November, just 53 percent of mobile phone customers had a smartphone, according to a separate study from comScore.

Smartphones are a popular choice in Brazil and Russia, but don’t predominate. In Brazil, they have 36 percent market penetration, while in Russia, they have 47 percent.

Both of those countries also have strong numbers of users of multimedia phones. In Brazil, multimedia phone users comprise 21 percent of all mobile customers, while they comprise 11 percent in Russia.

Not so in India. In that country, feature phones predominate. Some 80 percent of all mobile phone customers in India have those basic phones.

(Photo courtesy of yisris/Fotopedia.)

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (225 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.