How China is Acing the Smartphone Game in Indian Market

One of the prime reasons that have led to the growth of phone shipments in the subcontinent India is the underpenetrated market

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China is home to some of the biggest smartphone companies like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, which are giving a tough competition to brands across the world. As a result, home brands are losing out their market share to Chinese players.


According to a new report by a market research company Counterpoint Research, last year Chinese brands registered their strongest ever annual performance in India, capturing a record 60 per cent smartphone market share up from 54 per cent during 2017.

The Rise of China

The dominant spot of Chinese brands in India proves that China has higher chances of winning the Indian market.

Commenting on the competitive landscape, Anshika Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint Research says, “The competitive landscape has changed significantly in the last year. We saw key players gaining share while smaller brands exited the market as competition intensified.” However, she adds in the press release that this doesn’t mean there is no room for new players. “Realme, which started operations in Q2 2018, entered the top five brands in 4Q 2018, reaching more than four million users faster than any other brand. Going forward, we expect brands to consolidate their positions by driving multi-channel and aggressive product strategies in a bid to target users beyond Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” she adds.

Xiaomi Leads the Market

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has created a huge disruption not only in the Indian market but also globally. The research states that Xiaomi recorded its highest ever shipments in India during 2018. Strong product portfolio and aggressive channel strategy helped it gain market share, it adds.

What’s more, in 2018 it has expanded its offline reach with an increased focus on its Mi preferred partners. The overall mobile phone shipments in India grew 11 per cent and smartphone shipments grew 10 per cent with feature phones growing faster (11 per cent) than smartphones during 2018. In terms of revenue, the market grew even faster with a growth rate of 19 per cent during the year with Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO and Apple being the market leaders by revenue, says the report.

India’s Underpenetrated Market

One of the prime reasons that have led to the growth of smartphone shipments in India is the underpenetrated market.

According to Karn Chauhan, a research analyst at Counterpoint Research, India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets. “This was one the key reasons for its growth in 2018 where not only new users shifted towards smartphones but there was a healthy upgrade within price tiers, especially from entry-level smartphones to the mid-tier segment,” he adds.

“India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China. It has just surpassed 430 million smartphone users. However, this accounts for just 45 percent of the potential total addressable market for smartphones,” he explains.