For the first time, the smartphone market is on par with the feature phone market in India, according to IDC. Overall, the India market reached 42.6 million units for a 9.1 percent year-on-year growth in Q3.
Growth was driven primarily by the eTailer channel in the run up to Deepavali. Strong online exclusive portfolios driven by brands such as Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, Asus, and OnePlus helped spur a quarter-on-quarter growth of 37 percent, taking the online share to 39 percent in Q3.
The entry level Realme with its new Realme 2 and Realme 2 Pro series and Asus with its Zenfone Max Pro series entered the top 5 online brand list. In the US$400+ price segment, OnePlus clocked its highest ever shipment in a quarter, pushing the overall smartphone average selling price in the online space to US$166 in Q3, from US$156 in the corresponding quarter last year.
Xiaomi shipped 11.7 million units following its successful Redmi 5A and Redmi Note 5 Pro series and refreshed Redmi 6/A/Pro portfolio. It also made an aggressive entry in the mid-premium segment of US$300 to US$500 with its Poco series, targeting upgraders with the experience of a flagship at pocket-friendly price.
The offline segment registered a slower annual growth of 6.6 percent in Q3. Some of this can be attributed to the impact of eTailer aggression, high decibel marketing, and exclusive models in the mass segment preferring to choose online over retail.
However, offline sale still accounted for 60 percent of the India smartphone market.
“OnePlus climbed to the leadership position at the back of OnePlus 6, surpassing Samsung and Apple in Q3. With its dedicated community building activities and high decibel promotional activities on social media platforms, the vendor has been gradually scaling up in volumes. The newly launched iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were unable to create much demand in the opening quarter due to its high pricing in the India market,” said Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Channel Research of IDC India.
“With the duty hikes in place and the dollar fluctuation, smartphone vendors are expected to raise prices of devices in the coming months rather than absorbing the cost or clocking it under cash backs and financing schemes etc. Moreover, offerings like device AI, full-screen displays with notches, and higher memory configurations are expected to drive volumes from low to mid-range devices, carving out an affordable premium segment, especially for the upgraders,” says Navkendar Singh, Associate Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS of IDC India.