Smartphone shipments in India increased by 11% in the first quarter of 2021, to 37.1 million units, as favorable macroeconomic factors aided smartphone vendors in capitalizing on the increasing value of smartphones for Generation Z’s remote education and Millennials’ work and leisure.
Xiaomi remained the industry leader, with 10.5 million shipments accounting for 28% of total shipments. Samsung remained in the second position with 7.0 million units shipped, but its market share dropped to 19% from 21% the previous quarter. Vivo came in third with 6.7 million units shipped. With 4.7 million units sold, OPPO stayed fourth, while Realme rounded out the top five with 4.3 million.
As COVID-19 waned in Q1, the market saw a plethora of smartphone offerings and a resurgent offline channel, which fueled demand. Sanyam Chaurasia, the Canalys Analyst, said, “It was a quarter to rejoice in India, as every one of the top five vendors rose.” “For example, Xiaomi has continued to push its multi-brand strategy across existing online platforms while also launching new initiatives to expand its offline presence. Its ‘Mi Shop on Wheels,’ for example, converts road vehicles into mobile stores to reach out to smaller towns and rural areas. Xiaomi, for example, continued to drive its multi-brand strategy in established online channels and is now implementing new initiatives to grow its offline presence. For example, its ‘Mi Store on Wheels’ turns road vehicles into mobile stores to reach smaller towns and rural locations. In the premium segment, Apple had a stellar performance in what is traditionally a soft quarter. Following a strong festival quarter, it shipped over a million iPhones in Q1, with demand for the iPhone 12 supported by the local assembly and attractive finance offers, as well as sustained demand for the older iPhone 11. But the market-wide celebration will be short-lived, as a resurgence of COVID-19 in India in Q2 will derail momentum.”
According to Canalys, smartphone shipments in India will increase in Q2 2021 due to the second wave of COVID-19. “As the geographical distribution of cases varies widely, a nationwide lockdown seems unlikely. But regional lockdowns could hamper the transport of raw materials and devices due to limited inter-state travel. Hence, for smartphone brands and channels, building up optimum inventory could prove to be a hurdle in the second half of the year,” said Chaurasia. “Looking further into 2021, unfavorable macroeconomic factors will lead to a rising smartphone ASP,” said Varun Kannan, Canalys Analyst. “A combination of the ongoing supply crunch on key imported components and a weaker Rupee will make it increasingly difficult for vendors to maintain margins at current price levels. Consumers will bear the brunt of this cost, which will hit particularly hard in the sub-US$200 smartphone segment, which accounted for 81% of the market last year.”