The push from the brands coupled with the pent-up demand due to the lockdown and strong sales on online platforms led to this growth, the report by Counterpoint states.

Smartphone shipments in India hit 53 mn units in Q3, highest-ever in one quarter
Atom Smartphones Thursday, November 05, 2020 - 18:18

India’s smartphone shipments grew 9% year-on-year to reach over 53 million units in Q3 2020, which is the highest-ever shipments in a quarter for the Indian smartphone market. The push from the brands coupled with the pent-up demand due to the lockdown and strong sales on online platforms led to this growth, according to the latest report from Counterpoint. Consumers are still preferring online platforms due to COVID-19 fears, the report states. 

Samsung became the leading brand in the India smartphone market after two years with 32% YoY growth. It was also the fastest to recover, surpassing the pre-COVID levels in Q3 2020. This strong performance was the result of multiple strategies, including effective supply chain and touching various price points through new launches. 

Samsung’s rival Xiaomi slipped to number two position for the first time since Q3 2018 with 4% YoY decline. Manufacturing constraints due to the COVID-19 situation affected its supply chain, leading to a supply-demand gap. “With ramped-up manufacturing, strong demand for the Redmi 9 and Note 9 series, aggressive product strategy and growing offline presence, we believe Xiaomi will come back strongly in the coming quarter,” the report says. 

Vivo grew 4% YoY and retained its third position in Q3, driven by strong demand for its Y-series models in offline channels. In Q3 2020, it entered the premium market with the X50 series and was the first OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to launch a gimbal camera that got positive feedback from consumers. A gimbal is a tool that uses motors and sensors to support and stabilise a camera, especially when you tilt, pan and roll and helps you film smooth footage while you’re on the move. 

realme also grew 4% YoY in Q3 2020 as it was able to manage supply issues with increased production. It focused on the budget segment with multiple C-series launches to leverage the pent-up demand. Its Narzo series also gained significant attention and was a successful addition to its portfolio. Realme shipments grew 52% YoY in the mid-tier segment, driven by the realme 6 and 7 series. It also retained its leadership position on Flipkart, the report says. 

Oppo shipments grew 30% YoY in Q3 2020, driven by the demand for its budget segment devices, the A12 and A11k, as well as a good performance of the recently launched A52, A53 2020 and F15 in the offline segment.

Poco crossed 1 million smartphone units for the first time, driven by its new launches – M2, M2 Pro and X3.

Premium segment

Apple led the premium segment (>Rs 30,000) surpassing OnePlus even before its flagship launch, driven by strong demand for its iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 11. Its upcoming flagship iPhone 12 will further strengthen its position in the coming quarter, the report notes. 

OnePlus remained the top brand in the affordable premium segment (Rs 30,000-Rs 45,000), driven by OnePlus 8 sales. It re-entered the upper mid-tier (Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000) with its Nord series and the OnePlus Nord became the best-selling model within the segment in the initial quarter of launch.

Overall, the mobile handset market grew 8%, not just due to stronger consumer demand in the smartphone segment, but also thanks to stronger sales of feature phones. The feature phone market registered a 5% YoY growth in Q3 2020 with Itel being the number one brand followed by Samsung and Lava.

Commenting on the market dynamics, Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh said, “The Indian smartphone market is on a recovery path as the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed. The market has shown a consistent growth for the last few months. It saw strong demand during the Independence Day period in August as major online platforms hosted massive sales. September has always been a high sell-in month as brands prepare for the upcoming festive season and push stock in the channels. Almost all the brands recorded growth compared to the last year. In terms of price bands, the mid-tier (INR 10,000 – INR 20,000) segment registered the highest growth and reached its highest ever share in a quarter. Due to the pandemic, Indian consumers have ended up saving on leisure activities. These savings are now being funnelled into smartphone purchases. Additionally, smartphones have become an integral part of consumers’ lifestyle in this changing environment.”