India smartphone market rises 7% in 2021

Supply shortage and pandemic aside, India’s smartphone market grew seven percent in 2021 to 161 million units, according to IDC.

Xiaomi led a band of China makers (Vivo, Realme and Oppo) that dominated the top 5, except for Samsung which came in second.

Enjoying its fourth consecutive years at the top, Xiaomi shipped 40 million units, a slight decline of 1.5 percent. However, its Poco sub-brand emerged as the fastest growing online brand among the top five with 51 percent year-on-year growth.

Samsung also dropped six percent to 28 million units in 2021. It faced persistent supply constraints especially for Galaxy A series in the low to mid-price segment, and for foldable devices in the premium segment.

Third-placed Vivo’s shipment slid six percent though it continued to lead with a 28 percent share of offline channel shipments in 2021.

Realme and Oppo were the only ones among the top five to experience growth with 28 percent and eight percent increase respectively.

IDC expects Q1 to remain flat due to low seasonal demand and a mild impact of the ongoing third wave of Covid-19, which will give brands time to replenish their inventories. The transition from 4G to 5G will continue to drive growth, though still restricted to mid and high-tier price segments.

“Consumers continue to demand better features like the camera, battery, and processors over 5G capability in the entry-level price segments. The large feature phone base will remain crucial but elusive to the smartphone market in the absence of any affordable offerings at the entry-level,” said Upasana Joshi, Research Manager of Client Devices at IDC India.

“Overall, supply challenges and the second wave of Covid-19 severely restricted the market’s ability to achieve double-digit growth in 2021. Consumer demand is lower than expected as we entered 2022, but supply challenges are expected to ease by mid-2022, which should help in maintaining similar growth levels in 2022,” said Navkendar Singh, Research Director of Client Devices and IPDS at IDC India.

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