Updated: November 16, 2018 1:55:55 pm
India’s smartphone market saw its highest ever shipments thanks to aggressive sales by e-commerce players like Amazon and Flipkart in the third quarter of 2018, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
India’s smartphone shipments reached a peak of 42.6 million which was a 9.1 yearly growth. Interestingly, IDC’s data is in contrast with another research firm Canalys, which had said that India’s smartphone shipments actually declined by 1 per cent and that the shipments stood at 40.6 million.
IDC claims that this is in fact the first time that the smartphone market is on par with the feature phone market, and both contributed 50 per cent to the overall mobile phone market in the country. Traditionally feature phones continue to outship smartphones in India, despite the rising popularity of the latter.
According to IDC, shipments “were primarily driven by the eTailer channel in preparation for the multiple sale events in the run-up to the Diwali festival.” The festival of Diwali, which is usually seen as driving sales for products across categories, took place in November first week this time.
However, both Flipkart and Amazon had various pre-Diwali sales all of October with aggressive focus on smartphones.
“Strong online exclusive portfolios driven by brands like Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, Asus, OnePlus, resulted in quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) growth of 37% taking the online share to 39% in the quarter,” Upasana Joshi Associate Research Manager, Channel Research, IDC India said in a press statement.
The offline channel continues to dominate India’s smartphone segment with around 60 per cent share, though it had a slower than annual growth.
The winner in this quarter was still Xiaomi with the number one position and a market share of 27 per cent and around 11.7 million shipments. Canalys had put Xiaomi’s shipments at 12 million for the quarter. Redmi 5A, Redmi Note 5 Pro and Redmi 6 portfolio helped drive sales for Xiaomi, notes IDC.
The one year old Redmi 5A remained a best-seller. Combined with Redmi Note 5 Pro, the two phones saw more than 5 million shipments in two consecutive quarters. Xiaomi also occupied a share of 48.9 per cent in online channel.
Samsung remained at the second position, though it continues to lose share in place of competition from Xiaomi, vivo and Oppo. Samsung’s Infinity series helped it grow by 4.8 per cent annually in the third quarter, which was limited compared to players like Xiaomi, vivo. Shipments stood at 9.6 million for Samsung.
vivo was number three with impressive yearly growth of 35.4 per cent in the quarter. IDC credits the Y81 and Y83 Pro for helping pick up demand for vivo products, though vivo Y71 remained its top selling model.
Meanwhile, Micromax is also back in at number four thanks to the state government tender with the Chhattisgarh to supply smartphones to underprivileged women and students in partnership with Reliance Jio.
This was also noted by other research firms like Counterpoint in their findings for the third quarter. IDC expects shipments for the vendor to decline afterwards.
Rounding up the top five is OPPO, which saw shipments decline by 7.1 per cent annually in the quarter. IDC noted that devices like F9 and F9 Pro did not create much demand for the brand.
However, Oppo’s sub-brand Realme has managed to make a splash in the market. In the online market, newcomer Realme driven by Realme 2 and Realme 2 Pro along with Asus and its Zenfone Max Pro managed to crack into the top five.
In the premium segment, OnePlus clocked its highest ever shipments in a quarter. IDC looks at phones above the $400 price mark in this category. The rise of OnePlus also helped push the overall smartphone ASP in the online space to $166, pointed out Joshi. “OnePlus climbed to the leadership position at the back of OnePlus 6, surpassing Samsung and Apple,” she added.
Sadly, Apple’s iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were unable to create much demand in the market, given the high pricing. Apple has itself admitted that sales were down in India, and the rupee’s fall against the dollar has also made it harder for the company to bring down prices.
Meanwhile, the feature market in India saw 43.1 million units being shipment. Further shipments for Jio Phone declined. The 2G/2.5G feature phone market saw some traction growing by 19.6 per cent on a quarterly basis. This was due to higher shipments of vendors like Samsung, HMD, and Lava.
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