Smartphone shipments in India fell 48 per cent to 17.3 million units in the second quarter of 2020 as the country faced an unprecedented shutdown of its economy from March to mid-May due to Covid-19, according to the latest data from research firm Canalys.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi still led the market with 5.3 million shipments in the quarter ended June, despite this being a 48 per cent decrease in annual growth. The other vendors in the top five – Vivo, Samsung, Oppo and Realme, an independent brand spun off from Oppo – also saw their shipments decline, with the annual growth of each company falling at least 27 per cent in the quarter, according to a Canalys report published on Friday.
“Smartphone vendors faced a diabolical situation [in the quarter], dealing with both low supply due to a complete halt in production and diminished demand, as online and offline retailers were prohibited from selling smartphones,” the report said.
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A deadly border dispute between China and India last month has fuelled calls to boycott China tech, and there is lots at stake with all of the top five smartphone vendors in India aside from South Korea’s Samsung, being from China. Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Realme captured a combined 75 per cent of India’s total market share in the second quarter, according to Canalys data.
Canalys research analyst Adwait Mardikar said local vendors are driving a “Made in India” message to consumers and eager to position their brands as “India-first”.
However, he added: “Despite the sentiment, the effect on Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme is likely to be minimal, as alternatives by Samsung, Nokia, or even Apple are hardly price-competitive.”
Among the top 10 vendors in India, global smartphone giant Apple saw its shipments fall by the smallest margin, at 20 per cent year-on-year to just over 250,000 in the second quarter, according to Canalys.
But despite the hit taken by smartphone makers in the current quarter, Canalys analyst Madhumita Chaudhary said there is a “ray of hope” in sight.
“The transition to 5G is the next big opportunity,” Chaudhary said. “[Indian telecommunications company] Jio’s announcement of readiness to deploy 5G, as soon as spectrum is made available, has provided a ray of hope to most vendors who have been beaten by the current pandemic.”
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