Samsung makes a comeback in India, as smartphone sales recover in June 2020

Xiaomi stays on top in pandemic affected market

by: - Last updated on: August 11th, 2020

Counterpoint Research has released its report on the Indian smartphone market in Q2 2020. And while it too highlights aa steep decline in smartphone shipments in the lockdown and COVID affected quarter, it paints a rather different picture in other regards from what the Canalys report did a few days earlier. Most notably, it refers to the anti-China sentiment and also shows Samsung not just winning back the second spot from Vivo, but also closing in on Xiaomi itself. Here are some of the interesting aspects highlighted in the report:

samsung india

Market dipped by more than half

Given the fact that the Indian smartphone market for closed for almost forty days during Q2 2020 due to the nationwide lockdown, it is hardly surprising that smartphone shipments dipped significantly. As per the report, shipments were down to just over 18 million units, representing a steep 51 percent decline from last year.

Strong surge in June indicate a return to normal times

There is a silver lining to the “declining shipments” cloud, though. And that is the fact that smartphone shipments in June (the last month of Q2 2020), were almost the same as a year ago, showing only a small decline of 0.3 percent. The report attributes this to pent up demand during the lockdown period, and also indicates that “the market is starting to return to normal.

Record online purchases

With the fear of COVID, the number of consumers preferring “contactless” deliveries increased significantly, leading to a spurt in online sales. Online channels accounted for almost 45 percent of sales, which is a second-quarter record.

Samsung comes back strongly

Canalys’ report had placed Samsung in third place behind Xiaomi and Vivo, but Counterpoint places the Korean brand back at number two. The report says that the brand was one of the fastest to recover from the lockdown, and was back to 94 percent of its pre-COVID levels. The report puts Samsung’s market share at 26 percent, well above the 16 percent of Q1 2020, and even above 16.8 percent that Canalys had placed it at in Q2 2020. Thanks to this increase, Counterpoint says the brand is back at number two in the Indian market.

Xiaomi still tops, but its lead is being cut

The Canalys report had Xiaomi being number one in the Indian market in Q2 2020 with a comfortable lead over Vivo and Saming – almost ten percent over Vivo. However, the Counterpoint report for the same period says that while the Chinese brand is still number one, its lead is much smaller. As per it, Xiaomi has a 29 percent market share, which is not too far ahead of the 26 percent of second-placed Samsung.

production issues

Vivo, Realme and Oppo face production and supply issues

At number three, four, and five, are the Chinese brand trio of Vivo, Realme, and Oppo. The Counterpoint again differs from the Canalys one, placing Vivo at third, Realme at fourth, and Oppo at fifth (Canalys had Vivo at second, Oppo at fourth and Realme at fifth). Of these, the report says that Vivo coped best, ramping up production and ending up with a 17 percent market share (up from 12 percent last year). Realme suffered from its factory being shut down but evidently its Narzo series did well to get it an 11 percent share (up from 9 percent last year). Oppo had supply issues too but finished with a 9 percent market share (up from 8 percent last year).

Chinese brand contribution dips…sort of

The report states that due to supply issues and the anti-China sentiment caused by border issues, the contribution of Chinese brands dipped in India in Q2 2020 – it was 81 percent in Q1 2020, but was down to 72 percent in the second quarter. Interestingly, however, the four major Chinese players (Xiaomi, Vivo, Realme, and Oppo) in the Indian market seem to have done better in terms of market share as compared to last year, accounting for 66 percent of shipments as compared to 57 percent at this time last year!

OnePlus, Apple do well

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Image: Pocketnow

In the higher-priced segments, both OnePlus and Apple did well. OnePlus got back its number one position as the top brand in the above Rs 30,000 price category, while Apple topped the segment above Rs 45,000, thanks mainly to the iPhone 11. The report states that Apple did lose out some share to OnePlus, though.

Others continue to shrink

In one respect, both the Counterpoint and Canalys report are in agreement – the “others” segment (the brands outside the top five) are diminishing rapidly. Canalys had put the share of this section at 8.1 percent and Counterpoint puts it at 8 percent. That’s quite a comedown when you consider the names in that section: Apple, OnePlus, Nokia, Motorola, Asus, Micromax, Lava, and many others.

Massive drop in feature phone sales

If smartphones witnessed a fall in shipments, feature phones saw an even steeper fall. As per the report, feature phone shipments declined by 68 percent in Q2 2020, as compared to the previous year. Itel was the surprising leader with 24 percent share, Lava was second with 23 percent, while Samsung was third at 22 percent. Nokia is fourth at 9 percent, while Karbonn completes the top five at five percent.

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