The global smartphone market might be sliding, but when it comes to India, smartphone manufacturers continue to do brisk business. According to IDC’s Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the Indian smartphone market recorded a 7.1 percent year on year growth in the first quarter of 2019. This is quite contrary to the global smartphone market, which dipped by 6 percent in the same time period.
A major reason for this growth, as per the report, was the online market, which registered a 19.6 percent year on year growth, with online sales accounting for 40.2 percent of the market in the first quarter of the year. Offline sales had relatively flat growth, evidently because the festive third and fourth quarters of 2018 resulted in large inventories. That said, Samsung’s A series and inroads by Xiaomi and Realme in the offline space did make a positive impact.
In terms of manufacturers, Xiaomi continued to rule the roost in the Indian smartphone market, shipping 9.8 million units, and grabbing a market share of 30.6 percent, up from 30.3 in Q1 2018. It continued to dominate the offline market, with a 48.6 percent market share. Samsung was second with a 22.3 percent market share, down from 25.1 percent in 2018, although its M series (and the M20 in particular) lifted its share of the online market to 13.5 percent. On third place was perhaps the most spectacular performer of the quarter, Chinese brand Vivo, which doubled its shipments from 2.0 million in Q1 2018 to 4.2 million in Q1 2019, grabbing a market share of 13 percent. Vivo’s success is being attributed to the Vivo V15 Pro and the affordable Y91, as well a the brand’s marketing initiatives on the eve of IPL 2019, which it officially sponsors. Oppo had a steady quarter, going from a 7.4 percent share in Q1 2018 to a 7.6 percent one in Q1 2019, riding high on the performance of the K1 and the F11/Pro series and the more affordable A series. Its former sub-brand Realme took the fifth spot with a 6.0 percent market share. Interestingly, the other brands which cumulatively made up almost a third of the market in Q1 2018 were down to 20.5 percent in Q1 2019, clearly showing that consumers were converging towards a few select brands.
The quarter also saw a 6.6 percent growth in the USD 300-500 segment, which accounted for 6 percent of the overall market, making it the fastest growing price segment. A star performer here, as per the report, was the Vivo V15 Pro. The growth in this segment also resulted in a 3.3 percent increase in the average selling price of a phone, which went up to USD 161. In the USD 500 and above premium price segment, Samsung had a 36 percent market share, outselling Apple, thanks mainly to its Galaxy S10 flagship series. The best selling phone in this segment for this period, however, came from OnePlus, the OnePlus 6T!
Even as the smartphone market grew, feature phones in India took a hit, with shipments declining by 42 percent year on year – 4G feature phones, in particular, dipped by more than 50 percent in this period. That said, feature phones still account for half of the total phones shipped in the quarter.
But even though online sales pushed growth in the first quarter of 2019, IDC expects offline retail to also play a key role in the coming days. “In 2019, we should expect further aggressive offline expansion by the online-heavy vendors in an attempt to get a wider footprint in smaller cities and towns. Having said that, the influence of the online channels and their focus on the smartphone business will continue. This will gain momentum in the all-important second half of the year since the affordability driving factors like EMIs/cashback offers continue to be top-of-mind attributes for consumers,” said Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices and IPDS, IDC India.
Interesting times beckon.