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India is the only smartphone market in top 3 to witness growth

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India, as opposed to markets like China and the US, saw a rise in the shipment of smartphones in the previous quarter. It grew 17 per cent with record shipments of 54.3 million units in the September quarter. In contrast, China and the US had a year-on-year decline during the same period

According to the research firm IDC, pent-up demand and festive season sale were behind the high shipment numbers.

It added "eTailers led the online channel share reaching an all-time high of 48%, growing by a healthy 24% YoY."

Offline channels registered a moderate 11% YoY growth after a challenging first half of the year. New launches had severe supply constraints in offline channels, it added.

The IDC research report said that ASPs (average selling price) declined by 2% YoY (at US$156), with 84% of shipments in the sub-US$200 range (29% below US$100), driven by e-learning requirements since smartphones remain the only device for internet access for most households in India.

The report also pointed out that the mid-range segment (US$200<500) declined YoY.

A bit surprisingly, the premium segment (US$500+) witnessed a strong growth of 91% YoY; where Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus continued to be the top three players. Apple also launched its online store in the third quarter, offering a wide range of first-time services.

"IDC expects the low-end and mid-range segment to continue being the volume driver. As consumer sentiment improves in the next few quarters, upgrades and affordable 5G offerings in the US$200-500 segment is expected to drive growth," said Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

Xiaomi leads the brands

Among the brands, Xiaomi led the list with 13.5 million smartphone units and 25 per cent share of September quarter, followed by Samsung (12.1 million smartphone units and 22.3 per cent), Vivo (9 million smartphone units and  16.7 per cent), Realme (8 million smartphone units 14.7 per cent) and Oppo (6.1 million smartphone units 11.3 per cent).

Xiaomi’s Redmi 8A Dual, Redmi 8, and Redmi Note 9 were the top three models nationally despite Xiaomi facing supply constraints in the early weeks of the quarter. Xiaomi also maintained the lead in the online channel with a 35% share, with POCO (sub-brand under Xiaomi) reaching an all-time high of more than one (1) million shipments in 3Q20.

IDC said: "India became Samsung’s largest smartphone market globally, ahead of the US in 3Q20, accounting for 15% of its global shipments. It maintained steady supplies through the quarter in comparison to China-based vendors, clubbed with more offerings in low-end and mid-range price segments. Samsung also benefited from the anti-Chinese sentiments prevailing in the initial weeks of the quarter, which soon vaporized in the latter half." The online channel accounted for 43% of Samsung shipments, witnessing unprecedented growth in 3Q20 with the Galaxy M21 and M31 featuring in the top 5 online models nationally.

More features in low-priced smartphones

While smartphone vendors launched more low-priced smartphones, they bumped up specifications with more phones featuring quad-cameras, high megapixel counts (48MP+), more storage (64GB+), bigger batteries (5000mAH+), etc even as the prices declined, IDC said.

Though the 5G network will only be launch by 2021-end, the "devices go first" strategy led to a million units of 5G smartphone shipments in the September quarter, IDC added.

IDC expects a gradual uptake of 5G devices in 2021, expanding into the mid-range segment, as the ASP gap between 4G and 5G offerings narrows.

Navkendar Singh, Research Director (Client Devices and IPDS) at IDC India said the healthy growth in smartphone shipment in the September quarter is expected to continue through October and early November during the festive months.

"However, the double-digit growth anticipated for H2 2020 may not be able to make up for the challenging first half of the year. IDC expects to exit 2020 with a low single-digit y-o-y decline after several years of annual growth," he added.

Source: IDC

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.