While the Indian smartphone market had a relatively flat first quarter for 2019 (January to March 2019), it was the Chinese brand vivo that crossed 100 per cent growth, according to reports from two different research firms. Singapore based Canalys said that vivo crossed 108 per cent annual growth in the quarter with close to 4.5 million shipments and over 15 per cent market share, data from Counterpoint research showed that vivo grew by 119 per cent with the brand reaching its highest ever level in the Indian market.
According to data from Canalys, Xiaomi was on top with over 9.5 million shipments, but it only grew 4 per cent, which was its slowest rate since it entered the market. Samsung was second, but Canalys notes they were the only vendor in the top five to see shipments shrink. Vivo was number three in the list followed by Oppo which had 2.8 million shipments, but only 1 per cent growth.
Coming to Vivo’s performance, Rushabh Doshi, Research Director at Canalys said, “Vivo’s expensive bets on the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket are paying off. Vivo has made several shrewd marketing investments, which also include signing internationally popular Bollywood actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador. But it faces an intense battle in 2019, as Oppo’s Cricket World Cup sponsorship and Samsung’s fresh offensive with the new M series threaten to stifle momentum.”
Number five on the list was Realme, which was originally launched as an Oppo sub-brand. The newcomer crossed 1.3 million shipments in the first quarter with 4.2 per cent market share. However, Doshi cautioned that Realme’s struggle in 2019 will be the offline channel.
“To win in the offline channel, Realme will need to meet margin expectations, fund retailers to prioritise Realme, and invest in advertisements, banners and brand ambassadors. A mix of these forces is necessary to boost demand for the brand, as well as encourage retailers to stock and sell its phones,” he pointed out.
India smartphone market: Counterpoint Research data
Counterpoint Research’s data showed that Chinese brands captured a record 66 per cent of the Indian smartphone market this quarter. vivo saw 119 per cent yearly growth, while OPPO grew 28 per cent. Data showed that vivo’s expanding portfolio in the mid-tier (Rs 7,000 – Rs 14,000) is what helped it grow in the quarter.
Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “The overall growth was slower than expected as some of the major brands were sitting on inventory after a stock build up during the festive period last quarter. This quarter we have seen all major brands expanding their footprint in offline channels to gain market share. Xiaomi has laid out big plans for offline expansion by increasing its number of retail stores. Realme, which started as an online-only brand, now gets the majority of its sales from offline channels. OnePlus is also now increasing its offline points of sale by launching exclusive stores across key cities.”
While Xiaomi was the market leader with 29 per cent market share, its shipments declined by 2 per cent year-on-year, according to Counterpoint. Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 7 series only launched in the end of the quarter in March, though it did cross the one million mark within one month of launch.
Samsung was number two in the list with its A-series shipments hitting two million units. The South Korean company also saw a strong sell-in of premium Galaxy S10 series, which drove overall average selling price (ASP) for the company. Counterpoint also noted that in the premium segment, Samsung surpassed OnePlus to become the number one player.
vivo was number three in the list with 12 per cent market share, while Realme was number four with 7 per cent market share. Oppo was below Realme at number five, according to Counterpoint data.
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