But Xiaomi retained the top spot

While the smartphone market in India took a major hit in Q1 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest Market Monitor report from Counterpoint Research suggests that smartphone shipments grew by a significant margin in the first quarter of this year. Chinese OEM Xiaomi retained its top spot in the region thanks to the success of its budget-friendly Redmi 9 series, registering a moderate 4% YoY growth in the quarter. On the other hand, Samsung saw a tremendous jump in smartphone shipments over last year, with 52% YoY growth driven by its Galaxy A, Galaxy M, and Galaxy F series devices.

According to the report, India’s overall smartphone shipments grew 23% YoY in Q1 2021 and crossed 38 million units. Counterpoint attributes this growth to new product launches in the first quarter, various promotions and financial schemes, and the “pent-up demand coming from 2020.” As mentioned earlier, Xiaomi led the market with a 26% share, followed by Samsung (20%), Vivo (16%), Realme (11%), and OPPO (11%). However, Xiaomi’s shipments only grew 4% YoY. Samsung saw a more impressive 52% YoY growth, driven by the success of its budget-friendly and mid-range Galaxy A, Galaxy M, and Galaxy F series devices. The company’s decision to launch its flagship Galaxy S21 series a few weeks earlier than usual also helped it increase sales via its online portal.

Smartphone shipment market share in India in Q1 2021 from Counterpoint Reasearch

Smartphone shipment market share in India in Q1 2021 from Counterpoint Reasearch

Vivo held the third position in the region with a 16% YoY growth in smartphone shipments. The company maintained its pole position in the offline segment due to the temporary improvement in the COVID-19 situation during the quarter. While Realme maintained its fourth position in the region with an 11% market share, its smartphone shipments fell 4% YoY. OPPO also had an 11% market share in Q1 2021, but its smartphone shipments grew by 12% YoY. Xiaomi’s sub-brand POCO was the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the region, with a 558% YoY growth. The company’s affordable POCO M3 and mid-range POCO X3 Pro drove the bulk of its shipments.

Infinix, TECNO, and itel, which are part of the Transsion Group, registered 81% YoY growth in the quarter with a 7% collective market share. Apple also witnessed tremendous growth in the quarter and maintained its top spot in the premium smartphone segment. The company’s shipments grew 207% YoY, thanks to increased demand for the iPhone 11 and the iPhone SE 2020. OnePlus was the top 5G smartphone brand in the region, and its shipments grew more than 300% YoY.

While the smartphone market in India registered impressive growth in Q1 2021, shipments may take a major hit in the coming months, as India is currently dealing with a second, more catastrophic wave of COVID-19. As Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh notes, “Continuing with its stellar run, India’s smartphone market registered a third consecutive quarter of record shipments in Q1 2021, riding on pent-up demand. Consumer confidence also increased due to the beginning of a vaccination drive in the country. But these numbers should be taken with caution as a second and more virulent wave of COVID-19 is currently on in the country and is likely to impact the coming quarters. The consumer demand will take a hit due to the ongoing COVID-19 wave and subsequent lockdowns.”