India sees record smartphone shipment with Chinese brands dominate top rankings

Whilst Apple’s high pricing has made it fall behind Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and Oppo in India.

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Fuelled by the growth of foreign handset manufacturers such as Xiaomi and Samsung, India saw its highest smartphone shipment ever at 36.9 million units in the second quarter (April-June) of 2019.

According to a recent report by the research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), there is a 10% year-on-year growth in the smartphone shipment in India. In the corresponding period last year, about 33.5 million units of smartphones were shipped to India.

The report puts Xiaomi on the topwith 28.3% market share, followed by Samsung at 25.3%. Others in the top five slot are Vivo, Oppo, and Realme at 15.1%, 9.7%, and 7.7% market share, respectively.

Source: IDC

The total number of mobile phones including smartphones shipped to India in the quarter ending June 2019 stood at 69.3 million units, up by 7.6% compared to the same quarter last year. The is expected to increase further due to the upcoming festive season sale starting from October and the expected new launches resulting in the fall of older models.

During the festive season that lasts for three months (October to December), online as well as offline sellers offer discounts and manufacturers on the other hand, coincide their new handset launches during this period.

Upasana Joshi, associate research manager at IDC India, said, “Despite the efforts towards multi-channel retailing by almost all vendors, the online channel continued its growth momentum fuelled by multiple new launches, attractive offers and affordability schemes like EMIs/cashbacks.”

Online smartphone sales in Q2 this year registered a year-on-year growth of 12.4% whereas offline sales saw the growth at 8.5%.

Around 78% of mobile phones purchased was below USD 200. However, the fastest growing segment was in the price bracket of USD 200-300 with 105.2% year-on-year growth. This was largely due to Chinese brands offering premium phone features at mid-price segments. OnePlus led the second-fastest-growing segment of price bracket USD 400-600 with 16.3% year-on-year growth in the June 2019 quarter. Following this is the premium segment of USD 500 and above where Apple enjoys a 41.2% market share.

With users preferring 4G enabled phones largely after the launch of Reliance Jio network three years ago, the 2G feature phone segment has seen a significant decline.

Though in India, smartphones are being sold like hot cakes as the market has not yet matured or evolved enough, globally the trend is different. Especially in the western markets smartphone shipments are on the decline and is at its lowest level since 2014, largely due to the lack of any significant feature upgrade. Another reason is that people are waiting for 5G enabled phones and will buy them once there is 5G network support too.

The issue of lack of innovation is very critical. It is the single factor why Chinese smartphones have captured emerging markets as they provide cutting edge technology at affordable price points. Interestingly, according to a Strategy Analytics and Counterpoint Research report, the erstwhile king of innovation Apple has been rapidly losing market share worldwide. According to Apple’s earnings report, its global revenue from iPhones dropped in Q2 this year. Apple’s high pricing has made it fall behind Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and Oppo in India. Industry watchers claim Apple has lost the battle to android phones because of lack of innovation. Although, Apple sells all its products in India, it has less than 2% market share.