Counterpoint Research has published the figures of the online smartphone market in Indian for the second quarter of 2019. And well, it makes for some fascinating reading. Yes, the usual suspects are in their usual places, but there are some very surprising tales out there as well. Here are some aspects of the report that we found very interesting:

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Offline slows, online grows

According to Counterpoint, the second quarter of 2019 saw offline phone sales actually decline – yes, sales in offline channels were down by four percent. However, the sentiment online was far more positive, with sales growing by a very impressive 26 percent. Evidently, special sales like the Flipkart Summer Carnival and the Amazon Summer Sale played a major role in this. However, it also needs to be remembered that this online sales growth is on a lower base – almost sixty percent of all phones sold in India are still sold offline.

Flipkart is the boss overall…

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When it comes to online retail players in the phone department, Flipkart is clearly top of the heap. The brand has a 58 percent share of the smartphones sold online in Q2 2019, and grew by an impressive 45 percent, spurred mainly by the sales of the Redmi Note 7 Pro, Realme C2 and Realme 3.

…but Amazon commands the premium segment (de OnePlus effect?)

It might have lost out to Flipkart in the general stakes, but Amazon bossed the premium segment of online phone sales in Q2 2019. Aided by sales of the OnePlus 7 series, the e-commerce accounted for a massive 79 percent of sales in the premium smartphone segment in this period! Amazon incidentally also grew 9 percent year on year, with the Redmi 6A, Redmi 7, Galaxy M series and the OnePlus 7 series being star performers.

Xiaomi rules…

Xiaomi continues to be top of the pile online, with a 46 percent market share. However, this is down from 55 percent in Q2 2018. Still, unlike in the offline segment, where Xiaomi and Samsung are going toe to toe, Xiaomi has a huge lead online. Three of the five most popular phones online are Xiaomi devices and its 46 percent share is more than twice of the brand of the second place, which of course takes us to the next point.

…but Realme is a contender

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Realme has come literally out of nowhere and overtaken the likes of Samsung and Honor to grab second place in the market. The brand has a 17 percent share, which is a huge step up from a four percent share for this period last year. And if Xiaomi has three of the top five selling smartphones in Q2 2019, Realme has the other two! A very different picture from the overall market where the battle is mainly between Xiaomi and Samsung.

The top five phones come from two brands – Redmi and Realme

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Samsung and Xiaomi might be slugging out for the top slot overall, but when it comes to online sales, the battle is between Xiaomi and Realme. Not only do the brands occupy the first two slots in the online market shares, but they contribute all the phones in the top five bestselling phones online in Q2 2019. Leading the list is, of course, the Redmi Note 7 Pro (12.1 percent), followed by Redmi 6A (6.4 percent). Realme C2 gets into third place with 5.9 percent and Realme 3 into fourth at 5.6 percent, while the fifth place goes to the Redmi Note 7 with 5 percent. It is interesting that both the Redmi Note devices in the list are significantly more expensive than the Realme ones – the Redmi Note 7 Pro starts at Rs 13,999, and the Redmi Note 7 at Rs 9,999, as compared to Realme C2, which starts at Rs 5,999 and the Realme 3, which starts at Rs 8,999.

Redmi Note 7 Pro is DA phone, Redmi Note 7 Series is DA series!

The Redmi Note series has been a bestseller for Xiaomi and it continues this tradition online in Q2 2019. The Redmi Note 7 Pro accounted for a staggering 12.1 percent of the phones sold online – that’s actually more than the entire Samsung sales online, and that of Huawei and Asus put together. Staggering statistics indeed, when you consider that of the five bestselling phones online, it actually has the highest-selling base price (it started at Rs 13,999!). It is not just the Note 7 Pro that did well, the Note 7 also took in a 5 percent share, being the fifth highest-selling smartphone online in the quarter. To get a better idea of the dominance of the Redmi Note 7 series, just consider the fact that the Redmi Note 7 Pro and Note 7 together accounted for 17.1 percent of smartphones sold online – that is more than what Realme sold altogether (the brand had a 17 percent share)!

Samsung is making some noise

The arrival of the M series seems to have given Samsung some momentum online. The brand is third in the market with 11 percent, with the M series accounting for more than half of its sales. Better late than never for the Korean giant.

Asus rises, Huawei falls

Perhaps the most dramatic decline in terms of share has been that of Huawei. The brand was second in the market in Q2 2018 with a 10 percent share but is now fifth with just four percent in Q2 2019. Asus, on the other hand, has made a strong comeback – just 2 percent in Q2 2018, it now has a 6 percent share in Q2 2019.

Not in the top five, but growing fast

Realme and Asus were among the fastest-growing brands online in Q2 2019, and both made it to the top five. Two other brands that were among the brisk growers did not get that far but are growing at impressive rates, according to the report. They are among the top five smartphone brands in the country, so we guess it is a matter of time before they get into the top five online too. Their names? Oppo and Vivo.

One more thing…

It made online phones sales a thing almost five years ago. But we could not see it anywhere in the latest report, notwithstanding a few releases. Can you blame us for asking “Hello? Moto?”

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