India’s smartphone sector appeared to defy the economic slowdown trend in other sectors as shipments hit a record high of 49 million units in the third quarter of 2019, according to research firm Counterpoint Research. While Xiaomi remained the market leader in the quarter, brands like Realme, vivo, OnePlus and itel were among the fastest growing.
While the smartphone market grew, India’s feature phone market saw a steep decline of nearly 37 per cent year-on-year. Counterpoint says this was likely due to the slowdown in the new shipments from Reliance Jio, given it was focused on clearing the older JioPhone inventory ahead of Diwali season. In the feature phone segment, itel emerged as the number two feature phone brand in the third quarter of 2019.
Overall, the top five smartphone brands in India contributed to 87 per cent of the market, the highest ever level. This highlights the kind of consolidation the Indian smartphone market has seen with the top brands dominating in terms of shipments.
According to Counterpoint, India’s smartphone shipments had a 10 per cent year-on-year growth in the third quarter. The growth was driven by new launches, discounts and various pre-Diwali sale channel fill by all the leading smartphone brands for the festive season, notes the report.
“The smartphone has become central to people’s lives taking a priority in terms of their share of wallet. Further, the smartphone brands continue to expand their product portfolio with attractive advanced features from quad camera to full view display to fast-charging larger battery for the mainstream and the mass market. As a result, this holiday season, we estimate the demand for smartphones will supersede other categories despite uncertain economic climate,” Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst, said.
Smartphones now account for two in three mobile phones sold, pointed out Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research. She added that, “Chinese brands Xiaomi, vivo, Realme and OPPO reached a record sell-in levels in Q3 2019.”
In the smartphone segment, Xiaomi had a 26 per cent share and recorded its highest ever shipments with a 26% share. Xiaomi managed to grow by seven per cent year on year with models like Redmi 7A, Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi Note 7S being the best performers.
Samsung is still number two, but the shipments declined by four per cent year on year. But it fared better on a quarterly basis, growing at a rate of three per cent. The growth was driven by Samsung’s budget Galaxy A2 Core and its upgraded A series and M series, which included A30s, M30s, A10s, A50s and M10s. Samsung fared better in the premium segment as well, thanks to the introduction of Galaxy Note 10 series in the quarter.
vivo was number three with 17 per cent market share in the quarter as devices like vivo S1 and Y17 helped it grow. Focus on the online segment with products like U10, Z1X and Z1 Pro, also worked in the brand’s favour, according to Counterpoint.
Realme also recorded its highest ever shipments, and remains the fastest growing brand registering six-time growth as compared to last year when it entered the Indian market. It managed to grab 16 per cent of the market share. Realme C2, Realme 3i and Realme 5 series were the best-selling devices for the brand in the third quarter, said the research firm. Oppo grew 12 per cent on an yearly basis, but its market share was only 8 per cent, though it managed to emerge as number five in the list.
In the premium segment, OnePlus remained the number one brand. Counterpoint’s data showed that its shipments almost doubled as compared to last year, driven by its newly launched device OnePlus 7T and discount offers on its earlier OnePlus 7 series. Apple also made an entry into the top ten smartphone brands, driven by price cuts on the iPhone XR along with strong demand for the newly launched iPhone 11.
Budget brand itel 40 per cent yearly, notes Counterpoint, and this was driven by strong offline expansion of the brand, and a focus on upgrading its affordable series with new features. itel was the number one smartphone brand in less than ₹5000 retail price segment in offline channels, notes the report.
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