After more than a year of dwindling smartphone sales, experts predict that phone sales will pick up momentum during the festive season. According Counterpoint data sourced by businessline, smartphone sales are expected to go up by 5 per cent in the second half of 2023, largely led by the sale of premium devices.

A previous Counterpoint report had indicated that in anticipation that the festive season, OEMs have begun building inventory again — even though phone sales were largely limited in the first half of 2023, as people’s purchasing power dwindled. The second half of 2023 is expected to deliver better performance from OEMs although, sales will not be as high as 2021, when pent up demand for smartphones was driving volumes.

H1, a washout

Even though sales for the second half of 2023 are expected to be better than the previous year, the cumulative sales for 2023 are still good going to be lower than 2022. This is because the first half of 2023, was a washout season for smartphone makers, who saw a 10 per cent year-on-year decline in sales in the first half of 2023.

Even though India is likely to see a recovery in sales volumes, it is driven by premium devices priced above ₹30,000.

Tarun Pathak, Research Director at Counterpoint explained, “We expect the premium price bands to continue to grow in H2 especially with newer launches from Samsung and Apple. The lower and mid-price bands are expected to decline slightly. There was a big lull in smartphone activity below 10K. However, in recent months, we have seen new launches from multiple brands and the market has stabilised. Inflation will also be a big factor which will affect the lower price bands. The consumers in these price bands are affected the most by inflation, so if inflation doesn’t subside, we may see soft demand continuing for lower price bands”

Contrary to trends in global markets, India’s premium mobile phone market seems largely immune to macroeconomic pressures. While iPhone sales decline abroad, India has become one of the top five marketplaces for iPhones. Samsung also beat Apple’s supremacy in premium handsets in India recently.