India's Smartphone Growth Continues; Xiaomi Still On Top, Samsung Sees Decline

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi continued to have the largest market share with 43.6 million shipments in 2019, followed by Samsung which shipped 31 million units and Vivo at third with 23.8 million units.
India's Smartphone Growth Continues; Xiaomi Still On Top, Samsung Sees Decline
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India’ smartphone market shipped 152.5 million units last year, an eight per cent growth over 2018. According to a report by International Data Corp (IDC), this came at a time when the overall mobile phone market, saw a 12.3 per cent year-on-year decline.

In 2019, one of the interesting trends was longer inventory cycles in the offline channel due to online exclusive models. Offline saw only 1.6 per cent annual growth. The fourth quarter witnessed a 5.5 per cent growth in shipments over the year-ago period with 36.9 million units. On a sequential basis, it was a 20.8 per cent decline. 

The report stated that the third quarter typically sees heavy channel loading for the Diwali festive period, and the last quarter sees a cyclical dip as channels focus on clearing leftover inventory,

“The online growth momentum continued through the year...due to deep discounts, cashback offers, buyback/exchange schemes, and complete protection offers clubbed with attractive financing schemes like no cost EMIs across major model line ups and brands,” said Upasana Joshi, associate research manager for client devices at IDC India.

Xiaomi Leading By A Mile

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi continued to have the largest market share. The company had a 28.6 per cent share of the overall pie, up from 28.3 per cent a year earlier. It registered annual shipments of 43.6 million units through 2019, the highest ever smartphone shipments by any brand in a year, stated the report.

The company saw a 9.2 per cent year-on-year growth in shipments and the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Redmi 6A were the highest shipped devices nationally in 2019. In the fourth quarter alone, it saw a staggering 15.9 per cent growth over the same period a year earlier, helped by some new launches.

“This is an extremely exhilarating moment for us at Xiaomi India, as we become the leader in the overall mobile phone market across smartphones and feature phones,” said Manu Jain, managing director of Xiaomi India, in a separate statement.

Xiaomi India also said that the festive season sale contributed significantly to its success in the fourth quarter. The company sold over 12 million Xiaomi devices in one month translating to a massive 40% year-over-year growth over last year’s festive sales for Xiaomi.

While on a full-year basis, South Korean giant Samsung remained at the second spot, its market share declined to 20.3 per cent from 22.6 per cent in 2018. Among the biggest gainers in the year were Vivo, Realme and OPPO. Vivo was placed third in the year with a 15.6 per cent market share and even surpassed Samsung in the fourth quarter.

Vivo shipped 6.9 million units while Samsung shipped 5.7 million units during the October-December period.

“The refreshed Galaxy As series was unable to sustain its momentum owing to a delay in launch time and a gap in phasing out the older Galaxy A clubbed with fewer channel incentives,” said the report, adding that the Galaxy M Series, particularly M30s performed well online, giving it an online channel share of 16.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, an all-time high.

About Vivo’s performance, the report stated that the brand’s continued focus on its offline channel, despite the exclusive line-up in online channel and presence across price segments, led to the phenomenal rise.

For the full-year period, OPPO had a 10.7 per cent share of thr market while Realme followed close behind with a 10.6 per cent share.

IDC Forecast

IDC said it expects the India smartphone market to see modest single digit growth in 2020 as well.

“As organic growth becomes challenging with increasing replacement cycles, it is imperative for the smartphone ecosystem to really put its energy and focus on enabling migration of the massive feature phone user base in India in addition to continue offering compelling propositions at the mid-premium segment to boost faster upgrades,” said Navkendar Singh, research director of client devices and IPDS at IDC India.

Through the year, newer concepts such as under-display cameras, more gaming-centric features and higher refresh rate screens would be seen in the market, he said, adding that brands would make efforts to have newer revenue streams such as monetization of operating systems, offer financing services among others.

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