India’s smartphone market registered its first-ever Q1 decline with shipments declining 1 per cent year-over-year to reach over 38 million units in Q1 2022 (January-March), according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.

Shipments declined owing to supply constraints due to the ongoing component shortages and a fall in demand during the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, as per the report.

Related Stories
Hit by supply chain constraints, India’s smartphone market grew only 2% in the previous quarter: Report
Maintaining device affordability biggest challenge for vendors in 2022

Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh said, “India’s smartphone market registered its first-ever Q1 decline in Q1 2022. The quarter started on a slower note due to the third Covid-19 wave. However, demand picked up in the fourth week of January.”

“The component issues were a major reason for this decline and affected almost all the brands. OEMs are adopting various strategies to tackle the supply issues, such as expanding the supplier portfolio and increasing local sourcing. However, the market is expected to remain modest in Q2 2022 as well due to supply disruptions arising from the Covid-19 situation in China,” Singh added.

Xiaomi retains top position

According to Research Analyst Shilpi Jain, Chinese brands held a 74 per cent share in Q1 2022. 

Xiaomi retained the top position in India’s smartphone market in Q1 2022 with a 23 per cent share, though it declined 13 per cent YoY.

“Despite facing issues such as intense competition, component shortages and inflation, Xiaomi managed to emerge the market leader. Multiple launches with 5G, aggressive promotions at regular intervals and revamping of the Note series worked in Xiaomi’s favor. It also captured the second spot in 5G shipments for the first time,” the report said.

According to Jain, it registered its highest ever share in the upper-tier (₹20,000-30,000) segment driven by the Xiaomi 11i series. This also resulted in Xiaomi recording its highest ever retail ASP (average selling price).

Xiaomi was followed by Samsung that recaptured the second spot in Q1 2022 with a 20 per cent market share, despite a 1 per cent YoY decline. 

It also remained the top-selling 5G smartphone brand in India for the second consecutive quarter, as per the report.

Samsung’s shipments were driven by the launch of its latest S22 series and revamping of the A series and M series across price tiers towards the quarter-end. It also maintained its lead in the affordable premium segment (₹30,000-45,000).

Samsung was followed by Realme with a @6 per cent share. It was the only brand among the top five players to experience YoY growth (40 per cent) in Q1 2022. 

“It captured the third spot during the quarter. Adopting UNISOC chipsets for its mass-market models worked in its favor and, therefore, it did not experience slower shipments after the festive season. Leaner and targeted product portfolio and aggressive channel strategy, especially in the online segment, helped drive this growth,” as per the report.

Vivo remained at the fourth spot in Q1 2022 with a 15 per cent market share. it recorded an 8 per cent YoY decline during the quarter.

“The Omicron wave in the country during the first month of the quarter, which affected the offline market, more focus on the mid and premium segments, and increasing competition affected its volumes in the mass-market segment,” as per the report.

It increased its share in the online market through iQOO and the newly launched T-series. It also became the top 5G brand in the mid-segment (₹10,000-20,000) owing to positive consumer response to its T-series launch.

Oppo came in fifth with a 9 per cent market share. But it declined 18 per cent YoY in Q1 2022.

Being offline focused, shipments suffered more due to the Omicron wave,” as per the report.

The brand is focusing on higher price tiers now with the Reno 7 series, which received a good response. The revamped A16 series in the mass-market segment and the newly launched online-heavy K series are expected to increase Oppo’s shipments in the coming quarter, as per the report.

5G shipments grow 314% YoY

Overall, 5G smartphone shipments registered 314 per cent YoY growth and contributed to more than 28 per cent of the total shipments.

Counterpoint expects the 5G smartphone share to reach 40 per cent by the end of 2022.

OnePlus grew 347 per cent YoY in Q1 2022 driven by the Nord CE 2 5G and 9RT shipments. The Nord CE 2 5G was the top 5G smartphone model in Q1 2022. 

OnePlus captured the third position in the premium segment (>₹30,000 ~ $400) driven by its 9 series.

Further, high growth in the upper-tier and premium segments increased the market retail ASP to its highest ever with a 15 per cent YoY growth. All the price bands above ₹15,000 registered double-digit growth, as per the report.

Apple remained the top-selling brand in the premium segment (>₹30,000 ~ $400), growing 5 per cent YoY in Q1 2022.  Its growth was driven by aggressive offers on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 series in the offline channel.

“Apple has been aggressive in expanding its manufacturing capabilities in the country as well as increasing its offline reach,” the report said.

Mobile handset market 

India’s overall mobile handset market declined 16 per cent YoY in Q1 2022. The feature phone market registered a decline of 39 per cent YoY. 

“Supply issues, high inventory levels and softening of consumer demand due to high inflation were the major reasons for this decline,* as per the report.

Itel led the feature phone market in Q1 2022 with a 21 per cent share. itel has been the top feature phone brand for nine consecutive quarters.

Transsion Group brands (itel, Infinix and TECNO) captured an 11 per cent share in India’s handset market and took the fourth spot. Itel also led the sub-₹6,000 smartphone segment with a 61 per cent share driven by strong shipments of the A23 Pro and A27.