After slipping to second spot in July-September quarter due to backlash against Chinese brands and component shortages, China’s Xiaomi is back on top as the leading smartphone brand in India in October-December quarter with 26% market share, according to a report released by Counterpoint Research on Wednesday. Xiaomi’s market share in September quarter was 23% with Samsung slightly ahead with 24% market. In December quarter, Samsung’s market share dropped to 20%.
Though smartphone shipments grew 19% y-o-y (year-over-year) in December quarter, the shipments for CY 2021 declined by 4% y-o-y as the first half of the year remained severely impacted by the pandemic and lockdown led disruptions in supply chain. In total, India shipped over 150 million smartphone units during the year.
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“The anti-China sentiments largely subsided by the end of the year with Chinese brands holding 75% market share in CY 2020. During the year, we saw innovative channel strategies from leading brands due to changed consumer behaviour in the wake of covid-19,” Shilpi Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint Research said in a statement.
Counterpoint attributes Xiaomi’s comeback to their increase in production, which they pulled off by partnering with more Electronic Manufacturing Service (EMS) companies. Xiaomi also made aggressive offers during the festive season sales.
Though Samsung’s market share fell sequentially, they registered a 30% YoY growth. The company stepped up efforts in online segment during the year and grew 1.5x y-o-y in 2020, in terms of online channel shipments.
The combined market share of top five brands including Xioami, Smasung, Vivo, Realme and Oppo in December quarter was 82%, down from 89% in the quarter before, indicating a growing interest in other brands.
Among other brands, Apple emerged as the sixth leading brand in December quarter, growing at 171% YoY and 93% YoY. Apple crossed 1.5 million shipments in a single quarter for the first time in India. Their key rival in premium segment, OnePlus, crossed 3 million shipments in a year for the first time, but mostly on account of the mid range Nord series. Xiaomi’s sister brand Poco crossed 2.5 million smartphone units for the first time in a quarter.
Among Indian brands eyeing a comeback in smartphone market, Micromax reached its highest market share in six quarters. According to Counterpoint, 2021 will be a significant year for Indian brands and their market share is likely to grow.
Another notable trend from the year was the growing shipment of 5G smartphones. It crossed 4 million units in India with majority of shipments driven by OnePlus and Apple. Analysts at Counterpoint feel, 5G smartphone shipments will grow more than nine times to reach 38 million units in 2021.