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Samsung counterattacks, as per Counterpoint, and knocks Xiaomi off No.1 spot

The Indian Smartphone Market has a new Numero Uno

by: - Last updated on: October 30th, 2020

Just as it happened earlier this year, the reports of different research agencies seem to be reaching slightly different conclusions about the Indian smartphone market in the third quarter of this year. A few days ago, we had seen the Canalys report on Q3 2020, stating Xiaomi was still number one. Well, Counterpoint Research has now come out with its report for the period and its conclusions are a little different.

xiaomi samsung fight

Here are the highlights of the report:

We have a new number – all hail Samsung

As per the report, Samsung has recaptured the number one position from Xiaomi. The brand recorded a very impressive 32 percent year on year growth to take a market share of 24 percent. The report attributes Samsung’s good performance to very good supply chain management, hitting new price points, and very aggressive online push – Samsung actually had its highest ever online contribution in its online portfolio. Clearly, the M series is making a massive impact.

A record quarter for the Indian smartphone market

Like Canalys, Counterpoint also states that the Indian smartphone market shipped its highest ever number of smartphones in a single quarter in Q3 2020. It put the number at 53 million units (3 million more than Canalys), saying the number represented a 9 percent increase in year on year numbers. The report attributed the growth to ” push from the brands coupled with the pent-up demand due to the lockdown and strong sales on online platforms.”

Xiaomi drops to number 2…

As per the report, Xiaomi, which had been India’s number one brand for two years, suffered a 4 percent year on year decline in shipments to slip to second place behind Samsung. The report attributes this decline to manufacturing constraints caused by the Covid crisis which affected Xiaomi’s supply chain. Even then, the Chinese brand is not far behind the Korean one, with a 23 percent market share as compared to Samsung’s 24 percent, although this is down from 26 percent in Q3 2019.

…but is expected to make a strong comeback

The report also expected Xiaomi to make a strong comeback in the coming days thanks to ramped up manufacturing and demand for the Redmi 9 and Redmi Note 9 series, as well as a “growing offline presence.

Vivo continues to go strong, no need to wonder Y!

india smartphone market q3 2020

Even while Xiaomi and Samsung tussled for the top spot, Vivo continued to go strong. The Chinese brand notched a 4 percent year on year growth and took the third spot in the Indian market, with its Y series doing very well in the offline space. However, its market share dipped by one percentage point year on year – going down from 17 percent to 16 percent. The report also said that the brand’s X50 Pro, its first premium offering for a while, got “positive feedback” from consumers.

Realme grows steadily too, with Narzo, series 6 and 7 doing well

Realme too registered growth in the quarter, recording a 4 percent year on year growth, and taking fourth place in the market with a share of 15 percent. Like Vivo, it too suffered a single percent dip in market share, has had a 16 percent share in Q3 2019. The report says that the brand’s Narzo series gained “significant attention” and that the brand’s shipments grew by a stunning 52 percent in the mid-tier segment, propelled by the 6 and 7 series. The brand remains the top phone brand on Flipkart!

Oppo records stunning growth

The brand that came close to matching Samsung’s year on year growth was Oppo, which ran up an impressive 30 percent growth. It grabbed 10 percent of the market share, taking fifth place, but increased its market share from 8 percent in Q3 2019 to get into double digits. The report attributes this growth to the performance of its budget segment devices like A12 and A11k, and also a positive response to the A52, A53 2020, and F15.

Poco tops a million

With successful launches of the M2, M2 Pro, and the X3, Xiaomi’s sub-brand Poco topped a million units for the first time. Its numbers were included in Xiaomi’s.

Apple pips OnePlus in the premium segment

Apple surprised many when it overtook OnePlus in the premium market segment (phones priced above Rs 30,000). The iPhone 11 and iPhone SE 2020, which are the most affordable iPhones are believed to have driven the demand for its products. This matches the quarterly results announced earlier today where Tim Cook claimed best-ever sales in India. The brand is expected to do even better in Q4 2020 with the launch of the iPhone 12.

OnePlus remains tops in the “affordable” premium segment

It might have been overtaken by Apple in the general premium segment, but OnePlus remained the number one brand in the “affordable” premium segment which Counterpoint defines as the Rs 30,000 – Rs. 45,000 segment. As the report, OnePlus 8’s sales contributed to the brand’s success in this segment.

The Nord is a bestseller

Q3 2020 saw OnePlus return to the Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 segment, what the report calls the “upper mid-tier segment” with the OnePlus Nord. And as per the report, the Nord was a bestseller in the segment “in the initial quarter of launch” (a rather odd term, but we are assuming it simply meant the Nord did well!).

The Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000 segment hits an all-time high

As per the report, the Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000 segment, which it calls the “mid-tier” registered the highest growth, and also reached its highest ever share in a quarter. As per a Counterpoint analyst: “Due to the pandemic, Indian consumers have ended up saving on leisure activities. These savings are now being funneled into smartphone purchases. Additionally, smartphones have become an integral part of consumers’ lifestyles in this changing environment.

Anti-China sentiment (again) not much in evidence

Like Canalys, the Counterpoint report too does not seem to register any signs of a major anti-China sentiment in the Indian market, with Chinese brands still continuing to register growth – Oppo, Vivo, and Realme did well (only Xiaomi registered a year on year decline)- and still making up a large portion of the Indian market. “During the start of the quarter, we witnessed some anti-China consumer sentiments impacting sales of brands originating from China,” said a Counterpoint Analyst. “However, these sentiments have subsided as consumers are weighing in different parameters during the purchase as well.

You can access the report here.

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