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.
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.”