India’s smartphone market rebounded in the third quarter of 2020 to a record high of 50 million units, posting a year-on-year growth of 8 per cent, research firm Canalys said on Thursday. This is an all-time record for smartphone shipments in one quarter in India, it said.

While Xiaomi remained the market leader, growing 9 per cent to 13.1 million units, Samsung regained the second place from Vivo, with 7 per cent growth (10.2 million units), it said. “Samsung’s aggressive product portfolio and pricing strategy in the low end paid off. Vivo stood third, growing 19 per cent (8.8 million units),” Canalys said in a statement.

Adwait Mardikar, analyst at Canalys, said that smartphone vendors are definitely bullish. “The government slowly but surely reducing restrictions on movement after a three-month lockdown has created the perfect atmosphere for sustained growth. While almost all vendors have shown shipment growth, the true winners are the online channels, which have buoyed with a huge influx of devices ahead of the festival season. India’s penchant for a good smartphone, and a good bargain, remains intact,” he said.


Chinese vendors

Though the ongoing tension between India and China has been a hot topic the past few months, “we are yet to see a significant impact on purchase decisions of mass market customers,” said Varun Kannan, a Research Analyst at Canalys. Collectively, Chinese vendors accounted for 76 per cent of all smartphones shipped this quarter, growing from 74 per cent in the year ago period.

“However, the tensions have caused Chinese smartphone brands to act more conservatively in recent months, reducing their marketing spend, and carefully trying to project the image that they are important contributors to, and stakeholders in, the economic future of India,” said Kannan.

Apple’s momentum

Apple regained momentum in India in Q3, with double-digit growth to nearly 8,00,000 units.

“Apple is finally paying attention to India,” said Rushabh Doshi, a Canalys Research Director. It has opened a direct online store, giving several new angles in its go-to-market strategy, such as utilising device trade-ins to provide purchase incentives, or bundling AirPods with iPhones to make them more appealing, he said.



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