The last couple of weeks have seen different analysts release reports about the Indian smartphone market in the third quarter (Q3) of 2020. While Canalys had reported a record quarter for the Indian smartphone market and placed Xiaomi at the lead, Counterpoint had also reported the record quarter but had given the lead to Samsung. And now it is the turn of IDC to release its report for this period. And while it confirms some of the findings of its predecessors, it differs on others.

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So without further ado, here are the main takeaways of IDC’s report on the Indian smartphone market in Q3 2020:

A record quarter it is

Like Canalys and Counterpoint, IDC also reported a record quarter for the Indian smartphone market, with a massive 54.3 million units being shipped in this period. This represents a massive 17 percent year on year growth. The report attributed this growth to pent-up demand formed over the previous quarter, which had witnessed a lockdown. In fact, India was the only smartphone market in the top three to register growth, with both the US and China showing a year on year decline.

Online almost catches up with offline

A lot of this growth was driven by e-commerce players, with e-tailers accounting for 48 percent of the market, an all-time high, and a year on year growth of 24 percent. This growth was driven by cautious consumers who due to the pandemic, preferred making online purchases. A number of special offers and sales also contributed to the online segment’s growth. The offline segment also registered growth, albeit a relatively more modest one at 11 percent. IDC expects online channels to expand in the coming year.

The sub USD 200 segment dominates…

A massive 84 percent of the phones shipped in the quarter came from the sub-USD 200 price segment. 29 percent were even below USD 100. The growth in this segment is attributed to e-learning requirements as the phone was the primary device for accessing the Internet for many households. The average selling price of a phone in India also declined 2 percent in this period to USD 156.

…and the premium segment grows too…

Rather surprisingly, the premium segment (above USD 500) recorded a very high rate of growth – it grew 91 percent year on year as Apple, OnePlus and Samsung recorded strong performances.

…as the mid-segment slows down

It was not good news all around, however, as the mid-range segment between USD 200 – USD 500 witnessed a slowdown. The report says this was because “consumers held back on upgrading to a more expensive smartphone due to economic uncertainties.

Xiaomi tops!

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Like Canalys (and unlike Counterpoint), IDC places Xiaomi at the top of the Indian smartphone market, with 13.5 million units, representing a 7.1 percent year on year growth, and a 25 percent share of the market. Interestingly, although Xiaomi’s volumes went up year on year, its market share dipped from 27.1 percent in Q3 2019 to 25 percent in Q3 2020. Xiaomi’s increase in shipments came in spite of supply constraints early in the quarter. Its Redmi 8A Dual, Redmi 8, and Redmi Note 9 were bestsellers.

Samsung stands second but turns in a strong quarter

It remains behind Xiaomi as per IDC, but Samsung had a very strong Q3 2020, shipping 12.1 million phones for a 22.3 percent market share, and recording a very impressive 38.1 percent year on year growth. The report attributes its excellent performance to a very efficient supply chain that did not stumble like those of its Chinese competitors. The brand also did very well online, with online portals accounting for 43 percent of its shipments. The M21 and M31 did very well in particular and were among the top five online smartphones of the country at this time.

India becomes Samsung’s number one market

Samsung might not have been able to wrest the number one spot from Xiaomi in India, but the Indian market itself became Samsung’s biggest market globally in Q3 2020. The report states that India accounted for 15 percent of Samsung’s global shipments, taking it ahead of the US. That would make India the biggest market for both its top smartphone brands, Samsung and Xiaomi, and also a very important market for the likes of Realme and OnePlus!

Vivo and Realme record impressive growth

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Both Vivo and Realme, the brands at third and fourth place in the market, respectively, recorded impressive quarters. Vivo recorded a 27 percent growth with shipments going up to 9 million units. Realme took fourth place with 8 million units, with a growth of 19 percent. Vivo’s share of the market also went up from 15.2 percent to 16.7 percent. Realme’s share on the other hand remained relatively steady, increasing slightly from 14.3 percent to 14.7 percent. For Realme, the C11 was a star performer.

Steady quarter for Oppo

Oppo was fifth in the smartphone market, recording an 11 percent growth with shipments going up to 6.1 million units in the quarter. Like Realme, its market share too remained largely unchanged, dipping from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent. The A12, A53, and A11K were its top shipped models in the quarter.

Poco gets a million

Xiaomi’s sub-brand Poco had a very good Q3 2020, going past a million units in the period. Given the fact that the gap between Xiaomi and Samsung is 1.4 million units, it would be safe to assume Poco played a key role in Xiaomi’s taking the number one spot – Poco’s numbers were included in Xiaomi’s!

Vivo remains number one offline

Vivo continued to be the top brand in the offline market, with a share of 29 percent. Samsung was in second place, and Oppo in this place with a share of 18 percent.

Xiaomi calls the shots online

Xiaomi continued to be the number one player in the online market, with a 35 percent share. Realme was second with 23 percent taking back its second spot from Samsung, which took third place.

No 5G, but 1 million 5G phones shipped

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Although 5G is not expected to come to India by the end of the next year (2021), the quarter still saw a million 5G phones being shipped in the Indian market. IDC expects more 5G devices in the mid-segment in the coming days.

Others a diminishing presence

A few years ago, brands outside the top five accounted for more than a fourth of the market. However, Q3 2020 saw their share dip to a mere 10 percent or 5.6 million units. This was lower than even the brand in fifth place, Oppo, which had a share of 11.3 percent and shipped 6.1 million units. This is significant when you consider that “Others” includes the likes of Apple, OnePlus, Nokia, Motorola, Asus, Lava, and other brands.

“Anti-Chinese sentiment” not very strong

The excerpt from the report we saw said that while Samsung “benefited from the anti-Chinese sentiments prevailing in the initial weeks of the quarter,” this “soon vaporized in the latter half.” It would seem that the anti-Chinese sentiment right now is more of a social network phenomenon than a market one – none of the top four Chinese brands saw their shipments decrease in Q3 2020.

You can access the report at

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