Indian smartphone market clocks 18% growth in Q1 2021

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 11, 2021

Slowdown expected in Q2, says IDC

The Indian smartphone market recorded an 18 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in Q1 2021, between January and March with shipments totalling 38 million units, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker

However, the market declined by 14 per cent from a strong Q4 2020.

The onset of the second wave of Covid-19 in the country has negatively impacted the consumer market as the inventory cycle which had shrunk earlier in H2 2020 started to get longer since mid-Q1 21, as per the report.

“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”, said Navkendar Singh , Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India.

"The recovery in 2021 might not be as smooth as expected earlier, with uncertainty around the lasting impact of the second wave and a possible third wave in next few months. IDC expects a rebound in consumer sentiments in the second half of 2021, resulting in a single-digit growth annually. However, the degree of growth will be restricted due to reduced discretionary spending, supply constraints, and anticipated price hikes in components in upcoming quarters,” added Singh.

Premium market

Online channels continued their growth momentum ahead of the overall market in Q1 21 at 25 per cent YoY, despite a slip in its share to 46 per cent quarter-over-quarter (QoQ). Simultaneously 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, IDC said.

In terms of smartphone models, 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.

Apart from this, nearly 7 per cent of overall shipments were 5G, leading to a 3 per cent YoY increase in average selling price 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 lead in the premium market. Separately, feature phone shipments declined by 8 per cent YoY even as 2G segment witnessed 3 per cent growth driven by iTel and Lava.

"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," says Upasana Joshi , Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

Top players

As for the top players in terms of market share, Xiaomi continued to lead with a 27.2 per cent market share despite only posting 3 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. The Mi10i was the leading 5G model in Q121. POCO, Xiaomi's sub-brand, continued to cement its online position, driven by affordable models like POCO C3 and M3. Also, the top 8 online models were from Xiaomi/POCO, with a 30 per cent contribution, as per IDC.

Samsung gained a 19 per cent market share retaining its second spot. It recorded a 43 per cent YoY growth in Q1 21. It was followed by Vivo, Oppo and Realme with a 17.3 per cent, 12.2 per cent and 10.7 per cent market share, respectively.

Published on May 11, 2021

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