Sunday, 28 April 2019 06:22

Chinese brands grab 66% of Indian smartphone market in 1Q2019

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Chinese brands grab 66% of Indian smartphone market in 1Q2019 Courtesy vivo

Chinese brands are continuing to dominate the Indian smartphone market, with first-quarter 2019 figures from analyst firm Counterpoint Research showing that their share of the market grew 20% year-on-year, to reach a record 66%.

But despite this, the market was flat, growing by less than 2% to 30.1 million units, another analyst firm, Canalys, said.

The main reason behind this growth was the success of brands like vivo, OPPO and Realme — an OPPO spinoff — Counterpoint said, pointing out that vivo's volume had grown 119%, while OPPO had grown by 28%.

OPPO, vivo and OnePlus are all owned by the multinational firm BBK Electronics Corporation.

"Vivo’s expanding portfolio in the mid-tier (₹7000-₹14,000 or roughly US$100-US$180) [segment] drove its growth along with [an] aggressive IPL campaign around [the] flagship V series," Counterpoint said.

"OPPO, on the other hand, focused on expanding its portfolio in the less crowded ₹15,000-₹25,000 (roughly US$210-US$350) segment."

india smartphone q12019

Counterpoint associate director Tarun Pathak said the Indian market was attracting interest from Chinese and other players because data consumption was soaring and consumers were upgrading their phones much faster than in other regions.

"This has led to users spending more on their purchase which is driving up the overall average selling price in the market," Pathak said.

"As a result of this, the premium specs are now diffusing faster into the mid-tier price brands. We estimate this trend to continue leading to a competitive mid-tier segment in coming quarters.”

Overall, Indian smartphone shipments increased by 4% year-on-year for the quarter, with demand picking up during the latter part of the three months. Counterpoint research analyst Anshika Jain said overall growth was slower than anticipated because some big brands had unsold inventory after building up stock during the festive season in the last three months of 2018.

"This quarter we have seen all major brands expanding their footprint in offline channels to gain market share," said Jain.

"Xiaomi has laid out big plans for offline expansion by increasing its number of retail stores (Mi Preferred Partners), Mi Homes, and Mi Stores specifically to target smaller towns. Realme, which started as an online-only brand, now gets the majority of its sales from offline channels. OnePlus is also now increasing its offline points of sale by launching exclusive stores across key cities.”

Counterpoint said the Chinese brands also dominated the top five best-selling devices. The Xiaomi Redmi 6A was the top model, after a number of price cuts, followed by Xiaomi Note 6 Pro, Redmi Y2, Samsung Galaxy M20, and Galaxy A50. The top 10 models made up 35% of overall smartphone shipments.

Graphic: courtesy Counterpoint Research

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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