The latest research from Canalys gives us an overview of smartphone trends in the Indian smartphone market. The country has had a rough start to the year, with smartphone shipments stagnating around the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, smartphone shipments improved significantly in the second half of the year with a record Q3.
The second quarter of 2020 saw the largest decline, with a drop of more than 40% year-on-year compared to the second quarter of 2019. The market was able to recover in the third quarter, which beat the same quarter of the previous year . Meanwhile, the fourth quarter saw 13% growth, with 43.9 million units.
Xiaomi (including POCO) accounted for the largest share of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter at 27% with 12 million units. Samsung came in second with 9.2 million and 21% share. Vivo and Oppo rank third and fourth with 7.7 and 5.5 million units, respectively 18% and 13%. Realme was fifth and shipped 5.1 million units in the quarter.
Despite the sharp decline in the first half of 2020, overall shipments from India for the first half of the year fell only 2% thanks to a rebound in sales in H2. 145 million smartphones shipped in 2020 against 148 million in 2019.
For 2020 as a whole, Xiaomi’s market share has slipped slightly to 28% and 40.7 million shipments. Samsung shipped 28.6 million units and won a 20% share. Vivo shipped 26.9 million, Realme 19.5 million and Oppo ranked fifth with 11.7 million units. Despite growing tensions with China in 2020, Chinese brands continue to hold the majority of smartphone market share, accounting for 77% of smartphones shipped to India.
Analysts expect the Indian smartphone market to come back in force in 2021. The PLI (product incentives) and the ongoing rollout of 5G in the country are expected to boost smartphone sales on the eve of the new Year. Canalys Analyst Varun Kannan expects Chinese brands to be ready to capitalize on the move to 5G connectivity. On another note, MediaTek’s 5G Dimmensity chipsets have pushed the entry price of a 5G-enabled smartphone even lower and the new chipsets have consistently taken market share from Qualcomm around the world.