In the latest quarter of 2023, India’s smartphone landscape has presented a tapestry of competitive shifts and strategic maneuvers among key players. As per the analysis by Canalys, Samsung has sustained its dominance in the market, securing an 18 per cent share with 7.9 million units shipped. Xiaomi, not far behind, has claimed the second spot with 7.6 million shipments, thanks to its aggressive push into affordable 5G offerings.
Vivo, on the descent, has landed in the third position with a shipment of 7.2 million units. Realme and OPPO have rounded out the top five, dispatching 5.8 million and 4.4 million units correspondingly.
A report from Economic Times earlier in September highlighted a global slowdown in Android smartphone demand, with Apple overtaking Samsung in Indian smartphone exports, capturing a 49 per cent share of the 12 million units shipped in Q2 2023. Apple has also made notable strides in retail, crossing the 1.5 million units sold mark during India’s festive season sales, a first for the company, according to Counterpoint Research.
Senior Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia from Canalys points to strategic festive promotions focusing on budget-friendly 5G options as a catalyst for the entry-level segment’s growth. Xiaomi expanded its 5G lineup with models such as the Redmi 12 5G and POCO M6 Pro 5G, while brands like Motorola, Infinix, and Tecno captured market attention with their affordable 5G devices.
The premium segment, conversely, witnessed traction from Samsung’s S23 series and older iPhone models due to festive deals. Moreover, HONOR marked its re-entry in the market with its HONOR 90 series through a strategic partnership with HTech.
The current challenges for vendors include preserving market share, inventory management, and profitability. OPPO, for instance, has recalibrated its strategy to focus on higher-priced models, prioritizing margins over market volume. Conversely, Samsung has streamlined its product offerings across various price segments.
“The way forward in 2024 is dependent on fluctuating macroeconomic conditions, particularly impacting the vulnerable entry-level segment,” stated Chaurasia. He recommends that vendors should alleviate channel pressures and establish ‘hero models’ within each price segment to sustain market presence.
With Samsung’s massive factory in Noida, set up in 2018, capable of churning out 120 million units annually, and the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ incentives for local manufacturing, the subcontinent has become a pivotal battleground for global smartphone supremacy.
In Q3 2023, the Indian smartphone market experienced a 3 per cent year-on-year dip, with 43.0 million shipments compared to 44.32 million in the same quarter the previous year. However, a recovery appears to be on the horizon, with a slowdown from a 20 per cent year-on-year decline in Q1, buoyed by rising consumer confidence and new product introductions coinciding with the festive season.
India is home to over 931 million smartphone users, a figure projected to exceed 1.1 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent. Smartphone penetration in the country is anticipated to reach 71 per cent by year’s end, as reported by Statista.
Counterpoint’s monthly tracker shows Samsung and Xiaomi leading the Indian market in the third quarter, with Samsung enjoying a 17.2 per cent market share propelled by its A and M series. Xiaomi maintained a competitive edge with a 16.6 per cent market share, attributed to the Redmi 12 series and its foray into the offline market.
Vivo’s market share stands at 15.9 per cent, backed by its presence in the offline sector and focus on the mid-premium segment. Realme holds 14.4 per cent, and OPPO has a 9.8 per cent market share. Other brands, including the Transsion brands, collectively possess 26.1 per cent of the market.
OnePlus has taken the lead in the affordable premium segment with a 29 per cent share. Additionally, Nokia, Motorola, realme, and Google saw an uptick in growth during this quarter. Feature phones, primarily affordable 4G handsets, constituted 32 per cent of all feature phone shipments.