Samsung has dropped out of the top two of the Indian smartphone market for the first time in years. As per the Market Monitor service of Counterpoint Research, Chinese brand Vivo overtook the Korean brand to become the new number two in the Indian smartphone market in Q4 2019. The Indian smartphone market itself hit a new high of sorts, even as leading players experienced fluctuating fortunes. Here are some key points of the report:

[stat stories] vivo overtakes samsung, india overtakes us! - india smartphone market

1. Vivo replaces Samsung as number two!

Perhaps the biggest news from the report is the fact that Vivo has replaced Samsung as the number two brand in the Indian smartphone market. Vivo grabbed 21 per cent of the market, which was 2 per cent more than Samsung, which stood at 19 per cent. Vivo has been gaining win Samsung throughout the year and was 17 per cent to Samsung’s 20 per cent in Q3 2019. Interestingly, Vivo recorded a staggering 132 per cent increase over its year on year performance (it was at 10 per cent in Q4 2018), even while Samsung remained steady at 19 per cent in the same time period. Counterpoint attributes Vivo’s success to its aggressive positioning of the S series in the offline segment and the good performance of its budget segment devices.

[stat stories] vivo overtakes samsung, india overtakes us! - india smartphone shipment market share
IMAGE: Counterpoint

2. India replaces the US as number two!

Another number two was knocked off its perch. Thanks to a seven per cent year on year growth, the Indian smartphone market reached 158 million shipments in 2019, making it the second largest in the world, ahead of the US and behind only China.

3. Samsung not flattered by flat sales

Samsung did not lose much ground actually, but its lack of growth cost it second place. The brand’s shipments remained almost flat year on year as per the report, with the brand having a 19 per cent share in Q4 2019 as compared to 20 per cent in Q4 2018 and also 20 per cent in Q3 2019. The brand’s M series and A series have done well but evidently need to do better for it to get back to its glory days.

4. Oppo surges!

It might not have made as many headlines as some of its rivals, but Oppo had a very successful Q4 2019, almost doubling its shipments year on year. The Chinese brand had a 7 per cent share in Q4 2018, and was up to 12 per cent in Q4 2019. It was also up significantly from the 8 per cent share it had in Q3 2019. The catalyst for the brand’s success is its A series with the A5s, A9 2020 and A5 2020 doing particularly well.

5. Realme’s surge stalls

It has been THE smartphone brand of the Indian market in 2019, but the final quarter of the year saw Realme lose just a little of its edge. The brand’s market share remained the same year on year at 8 per cent, even as its shipments grew by 15 per cent. However, what is noticeable is that the brand’s share dipped from 16 per cent of the market in Q3 2019, when it was literally breathing down Vivo’s neck and was being seen by many as a potential top three candidate. That said, the brand did record a staggering 255 per cent year on year growth in 2019!

6. Asus flies high in 2019, and so does OnePlus

A big surprise among the brands that did very well in 2019 was the name of Asus. The brand grew by a staggering 67 per cent in 2019, making it one of the fastest-growing brands in the country in the year. The others were Realme (255 per cent), Vivo (76 per cent) and OnePlus (29 per cent). Interestingly, neither Asus nor OnePlus made it to the top five in spite of their impressive growth rates!

7. Xiaomi continues to stand tall

Even as those beneath it shifted places, Xiaomi continue to be at the top of the Indian smartphone market. The brand’s market share remained at 27 per cent in Q4 2019, the same as in Q4 2018, and its shipments grew by 7 per cent. The brand had a slightly lower market share (26 per cent) in Q3 2019. Although its rate of growth is single digit, its volumes are growing.

8. Apple has a great quarter

The report mentioned no figures but stated that Apple had a very good Q4 2019. The report says this is because of price cuts on the iPhone XR as well as the local manufacturing of the device. The relatively lower pricing of the iPhone 11 is also believed to have had a very positive effect on Apple’s fortunes in the smartphone market.

9. A highest ever performance for the top five

We have spoken in the past of how the top five brands have been dominating the Indian smartphone market of late. And Q4 2019 saw this trend hit an all-time high, with Xiaomi (27 per cent), Vivo (21 per cent), Samsung (19 per cent), Oppo (12 per cent) and Realme (8 per cent), accounting for a massive 87 per cent of the total market. In essence, this meant that almost nine out of ten smartphones being sold in the Indian market in Q4 2019 came from one of those five brands. Which takes us to the next point…

10. Rapidly disappearing “Others”

Brands other than the top five comprised 28 per cent of the market in Q4 2018. But in Q4 2019, this number was down to 13 per cent. And shipments down by 54 per cent. In overall terms, Others accounted for 27 per cent smartphones in India in 2018, but just 16 per cent in 2019, with shipments declining by 39 per cent in the year. Now, this Others category does include some fast-growing companies like Asus, Apple and OnePlus, but it also contains the likes of Motorola, Nokia, Lenovo and LG, as well as Indian brands. Is their era over? We will find out in 2020.

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