India’s smartphone market saw the highest ever shipments in a year with 142.3 million devices being shipped for all of 2018, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC)’s latest report. The research firm said that the Indian smartphone market saw a healthy 14.5 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth as compared to 2017, though the fourth quarter of 2018 saw a decline compared to the third one.
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“The big highlights of 2018 were the online-focused brands that drove the share of the online channel to an all-time high of 38.4 per cent in 2018 and a whopping 42.2 per cent in Q4, 2018. Shipments of the online-exclusive portfolios of Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, Asus, OnePlus etc., further fueled this growth, resulting in a year-on-year growth of 47.3 per cent in Q4, 2018 for the online channel,” Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India said in a press statement.
In contrast, the offline channel had a muted year with a modest 6.7 per cent annual growth in 2018 as it was unable to keep pace with the deep discounts from online players. Still offline remains the largest channel for mobile phone distribution in India, says IDC.
The overall smartphone average selling price (ASP) remained flat in 2018 at $158, which is around Rs 11,000 plus. Phones priced between $100-$200 (which is between Rs 7000 to Rs 14,000) accounted for more than half of the smartphone market in India, said IDC.
While the affordable segment continues to dominate the market, IDC said that the premium end of the market (above $500 or Rs 35,000 plus) outgrew all other price segments in 2018 with 43.9 per cent year-on-year growth. But the overall share of this particular segment is just 3 per cent of the entire smartphone market.
“OnePlus emerged as the leader in $500-$700 segment on the back of the OnePlus 6 and the newly-launched OnePlus 6T. However, in the super premium segment of $700+, Samsung surpassed Apple for the top position with its Galaxy S9 series,” Joshi said.
While smartphones had their highest ever shipments, the feature phone market in India also saw 10.6 per cent year-on-year growth. The market still makes up 56 per cent of the total mobile phone market in India and its shipments were 181.3 million units, which is still 39 million units more than the smartphone market.
According to IDC, this feature phone market growth is driven by Jio Phone shipments through the year, which contributed to 36.1 per cent of overall feature phone shipments.
Top five Indian smartphone vendors in Q4, 2018
In terms of individual vendors and how they fared in the fourth quarter of 2018, Xiaomi remained on top, thanks to its offline expansion with its Mi preferred partner program and opening of rural stores. Xiaomi’s online channel share was 47.2 per cent, and it has climbed to the second slot in the offline channel by surpassing Vivo in the fourth quarter of the year, notes IDC.
Xiaomi had 28.9 per cent market share in the quarter with 10.5 million shipments, which puts it far ahead of the number two Samsung. The South-Korean firm had an year-on-year decline of 7.9 per cent in the Q4 with just 6.8 million shipments. In 2017, Samsung had a market share of 24.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, but in 2018 this was down to 18.7 per cent.
vivo was number three with 79.6 per cent year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2018 driven by its affordable models like namely Y81 and Y71.
Newcomer Realme managed to break into the top five, capturing the fourth position, ahead of its parent brand Oppo. IDC notes that Realme’s affordable and aggressively priced Realme 2 and Realme 2 Pro series helped the brand and it has a share of 17.3 per cent in the online space in the fourth quarter. Its overall share in the smartphone market was 7.5 per cent with 2.7 million shipments.
Finally, OPPO was number five in the light with a year-on-year growth of 71.7 per cent in the fourth quarter.