More than 40 per cent of Android users in India say they are likely to replace their smartphones within the next six months, with half of Micromax and LG owners intending to upgrade their devices in that timeframe, according to a report from Strategy Analytics.

Apple is the top preferred brand for the next smartphone purchase, while just one in seven indicated a preference for Xiaomi. Only 6 per cent of smartphone users surveyed list Micromax as a preferred vendor for their next purchase, which the research firm said is a huge concern for the second-place vendor.

New customers for Intex and Lava are most likely to defect from Micromax, the study found.

Micromax has the greatest exposure to replacement sales, with 38 per cent of its owners “very likely” to replace their device. In contrast only 16 per cent of Xiaomi owners are “very likely” to replace their device in the next six months.

Strategy Analytics SVP David Kerr said: “Micromax is under intense pressure as its customers look to upgrade their devices. Stronger offerings from Chinese vendors Oppo, Vivo, LeEco and Lenovo, along with upcoming local players such as Reliance Jio, will make the Android smartphone market even more volatile in the second half.”

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The $16 billion Indian smartphone market, which is on track to become the second largest in the world after China, offers around 800 models across 11 major operators and retailers.

With only one in four Indians owning a smartphone, the market is an attractive one for Chinese vendors looking for growth outside their home market, which is nearing saturation.

Smartphones accounted for 44 per cent of total handset shipments in India in Q2.

The report, India Android Smartphone Replacement Dynamics, identifies online as the preferred channel for the next smartphone purchase, with two-thirds preferring online, up from 25 per cent who actually bought online last year.

It also found that battery and camera quality are key drivers, but noted that smartphones in India dramatically lag the global market in terms of 4G availability and suffer from inferior battery life and camera resolutions.