India’s Smartphone Market Started Strong With 18 Per Cent YoY Growth In Q121, But Slowdown Expected In Q221: IDC

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  • Separately, feature phone shipments declined by 8 per cent YoY, despite Reliance Jio launching its new 4G device bundled with telco offers
  • Online channels continued their growth momentum ahead of the overall market at 25 per cent YoY, despite a slip in its share to 46 per cent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ)
Image for representation (pic credit-ceth ksu)

The Indian smartphone market started the year with a healthy 18 per cent year-over-year (YoY) growth in the 1Q21 (Jan-Mar), totaling 38 million units, but declined by 14 per cent from a strong 4Q20, as per IDC. While the vaccine roll-out program at the beginning of the year instilled positive sentiments, the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 infections towards the end of the quarter resulted in subdued consumer demand. The inventory cycle which had shrunk earlier in 2H20 started to get longer since mid-1Q21.

Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India said, “The April-June quarter is expected to face growth challenges under the weight of the second wave of infections. However, the high shipments from the first quarter should be able to suffice for the immediate demand. But IDC estimates the impact to be less pronounced compared with last year, with factories being operational today and only limited restrictions on logistics/transportation and state-level lockdowns instead of a nationwide lockdown.”

Almost seven per cent of overall shipments were 5G, leading to a three per cent YoY increase in ASP to $176

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The report said that online channels continued their growth momentum ahead of the overall market at 25 per cent YoY, despite a slip in its share to 46 per cent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ), while offline channels grew at 13 per cent YoY. However, both the channels started to face higher channel inventory towards the second half of the quarter. MediaTek-based smartphone shipments continued to lead for three consecutive quarters with a share of 52 per cent, widening the gap with Qualcomm, which had a 35 per cent share.

It said, “Almost seven per cent of overall shipments were 5G, leading to a three per cent YoY increase in ASP to $176. Further, the premium segment ($500+), grew 143 per cent YoY, with 71 per cent of those based on 5G. Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus continued to dominate in that space; the iPhone 11 and 12 together accounted for 28 per cent of shipments; followed by the debut of the Galaxy S21 series and the OnePlus 9 series.”

Separately, feature phone shipments declined by 8 per cent YoY, despite Reliance Jio launching its new 4G device bundled with telco offers. . The 2G segment witnessed three per cent growth driven by iTel and Lava.

Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India said, “IDC expects a boost in 5G shipments with more affordable options, stickiness through financing/trade-in programs, and steeper discounts/cashback offers. Additionally, vendors continue to focus on India as a manufacturing hub, which can be seen in their efforts in locally sourcing more components, ongoing investments in R&D capabilities, and adding new surface-mounting lines to cater to the growing local demand as well as for exports from India.”

Xiaomi continued to lead, despite only posting three per cent YoY growth. Three of the top 5 models nationally were the Redmi 9/9A/9 Power, accounting for 10 per cent of the overall shipments, added the report.The Mi10i was the leading 5G model in 1Q21. POCO, Xiaomi’s sub-brand, continued to cement its online position, driven by models like POCO C3 and M3. The top eight online models were from Xiaomi/POCO, with a 30 per cent contribution.

Samsung retained its second spot, growing fastest amongst the top 5 vendors with 43 per cent YoY growth in 1Q21. Online channels accounted for 41 per cent of its shipments, growing by 55 per cent YoY, while its offline channels continued to witness slower growth despite the new launches during March.

It said, “Vivo was at the third position, with shipments declining by 3 per cent YoY. It continued to maintain its lead in the offline channel with a 29 per cent share, ahead of Samsung. It regained its title sponsorship for the IPL cricket league, ensuring high decibel promotional activities around newly launched models in March and April of 2021.Oppo regained its fourth slot with shipment growth of 35% YoY in 1Q21. Its affordable A15 series featured in the highest shipped models nationally, along with newly launched 5G models accounting for eight per cent of Oppo’s shipments.

Realme slipped to the fifth slot after falling per cent YoY in 1Q21. It continued to be the third-largest online brand with a 16 per cent share and more than two-thirds of its shipments going through the online channel. The company also launched the most affordable 5G model, the Narzo 30 Pro in 1Q21, expanding more into the 5G space.

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