Smartphone shipments in India recovered in the third quarter of 2020, posting eight per cent growth to 50 million units, according to a report released by Canalys. Chinese brands dominate, accounting for four of the top five vendors, or 76 per cent of total Indian shipments in the third quarter, compared to 74 per cent a year ago.
Xiaomi remained the market leader, growing nine per cent to ship 13.1 million units. Samsung regained second place from Vivo, with 10.2 million units and up by seven per cent. Vivo took the third position, growing by 19 per cent to ship 8.8 million smartphones, while Realme shipped 8.7 million units. Oppo completed the top five by shipping 6.1 million units.
Adwait Mardikar, Canalys Analyst, said smartphone vendors are definitely bullish. He said the government, slowly but surely reducing restrictions on movement after a three month lockdown, has created the perfect atmosphere for sustained growth. “While almost all vendors have shown positive shipment growth, the true winners are the online channels, who have been buoyed with a huge influx of devices ahead of the festive season. Ongoing sales at Amazon and Flipkart are a clear indication that despite the economic downturn, India’s penchant for a good smartphone, and a good bargain, remains intact.”
The report also highlights that India and China’s souring relations is yet to have an impact on the smartphone market. Varun Kannan, Canalys Research Analyst, said the ongoing tension between India and China has been a hot topic in the past months, but we have yet to see a significant impact on purchase decisions of mass market customers,” he said. “However, the tensions have caused Chinese smartphone brands to act more conservatively in recent months, reducing their marketing spend, and carefully trying to project the image that they are important contributors to, and stakeholders in, the economic future of India.”
Indian handset makers are gearing to retake the Indian market amid backlash against Chinese technology, especially Huawei. As such Reliance Jio, according to Kiranjeet Kaur who is a senior research manager at IDC Singapore, plans to launch a 5G smartphone for less than US$70. Kaur said Jio’s plans are ambitious and the cheaper smartphones are likely targeted at potential feature phone upgraders. Micromax, another Indian company, has also announced plans to launch a new smartphone brand called In. It will invest US$67.9 million in the new brand to compete with Chinese smartphone makers.