The firm said that top OEMs like Huawei, Apple, OPPO, vivo and LG had seen shipments decline in the quarter, but realme was one of a handful that had defied the global trend.
realme had 45% year-on-year growth, Counterpoint said, adding that this was a bounce back from the pall of gloom cast by the pandemic, and a remarkable show of resilience.
"In India, realme grew to become one of the top five smartphone brands in 1Q 2019. It entered the Southeast Asia market in 4Q 2018 and achieved the top five brand ranking in several countries within two quarters after launch; in European countries such as Spain, realme entered the top five list within one month of launching," Counterpoint said.
"During this period, we expect consumers to shift more towards the mid and budget smartphone segments, opting for value-for-money products. This is the price range where realme has a clear competitive edge with strong product offerings.
"According to our observations, realme continued the aggressive product launch plan in 2020 despite the pandemic’s shadow, bringing fresh air to the market with the realme 6/6 Pro/6i series, realme X3/X3 SuperZoom, the new Narzo series, and various models within the realme C series.
"These models, with premium features such as multiple cameras, AI-capable chipsets, long battery life, and stylish form factors, have received positive feedback among consumers from India, and various European and SEA countries including Spain, UK, Italy, France, Poland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and more.
"In the mature market of China, realme was the rising star, releasing four budget 5G models during 3Q, namely realme V5 5G, realme X7 5G, realme X7 Pro 5G and realme V3 5G. These models gained immediate market traction, driving up sales of realme in China by 90% from the last quarter.
"With the launch of realme V3 5G, realme also brought down the price threshold of 5G phones in China to around US$150 (A$205). By the end of September, realme had built a complete 5G portfolio covering products from entry-level to the premium segment, and the share of 5G smartphones in realme’s China sales has exceeded 90%, the highest among the major manufacturers.
"realme’s 5G smartphone offerings, especially the flagship X50/X50 Pro 5G, also gained traction in other mature markets such as Europe and Australia.”
Counterpoint associate director Tarun Pathak added, “Apart from the strong product portfolio, the efficiency of realme in tackling the rapid market changes is also a key success factor. realme is a young brand, and thus we expect its organisation and decision-making flow to be more immediate and flexible than the traditional electronics giants.
"During the difficult pandemic period, consumers shifted to online purchase, and realme, with its online-centric expertise, acted fast to cater to consumers’ needs. It offered after-care services in various markets, including extended product warranties, delivery within 7 to 14 days, contactless delivery, and online customer centres.
"In some SEA countries, realme also provided live streaming e-commerce training to its sales representatives, encouraging them to try this novel way of conducting business while staying safe during the lockdown. realme has been helping the emerging markets to develop towards a more digital economy. And its efforts paid off with the strong growth in Q3.”
Pathak said realme was expanding towards an AIoT (AI+IoT) ecosystem with the “1+4+N” products strategy (1 core smartphone + 4 smart hubs + N smart gadgets and accessories).
"It has been enriching the ecosystem by releasing competitive smart products, such as realme smart TVs, True Wireless Stereo earbuds, the realme Watch, a realme Smart Cam 360°, and more.
"In 3Q 2020, shipments of realme TWS products in India grew 45% quarter-on-quarter to take a 12% market share, and rank third among the country’s top brands list. Both realme Buds Q and realme Buds Air Neo entered India’s top five best-selling TWS models in Q3."
Graphics courtesy Counterpoint Research