Chip shortage, Covid-19 play spoilsport as India’s smartphone market registers marginal decline in March quarter

The pandemic’s third wave hit India in January, leading to a slow start to the quarter, before gaining pace in the last few weeks.

Smartphones shipment
Of the total smartphone shipments, 5G handsets contributed over 28%. (File)

The shortage of chips and components continued to play spoilsport as India’s smartphone shipments declined marginally during the March quarter, latest data suggests.

Coupled with a sharp decline in demand, India’s smartphone shipments hit 38 million units during the quarter, reflecting the impact of Covid-19 on the market, according to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor Service. The pandemic’s third wave hit India in January, leading to a slow start to the quarter, before gaining pace in the last few weeks.

Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Prachir Singh said: “India’s smartphone market registered its first ever Q1 decline in Q1 2022.”

“The quarter started on a slower note due to the third Covid-19 wave. However, demand picked up in the fourth week of January. The component issues were a major reason for this decline and affected almost all the brands. OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are adopting various strategies to tackle the supply issues, such as expanding the supplier portfolio and increasing local sourcing. However, the market is expected to remain modest in Q2 2022 as well due to supply disruptions arising from the Covid-19 situation in China.”

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The Counterpoint Research data showed Chinese brands continuing to dominate the market with over 74% market share. Xiaomi, including sub-brand Poco, retained its top position in India’s smartphone market with 23% share. However, its share came down 1,300 basis points on year. The Chinese manufacturer held onto its lead despite intense competition, component shortage, and inflation. Xiaomi also moved into the second spot in 5G shipments for the first time in India.

Samsung, driven by consumer demand with the introduction of the Galaxy A series, finished behind Xiaomi. With a 100-basis point on-year decline in the March quarter, Samsung held a 20% share of the market. The South Korean electronics giant, however, retained its top spot in the 5G smartphone segment for the second consecutive quarter.

Realme, the only brand among the top five to witness an on-year growth of 4,000 basis points during the quarter, now has market share of 16%, up from 11% in the year-ago period.

Vivo and Oppo finished in fourth and fifth position, respectively. Vivo shipments declined by 800 basis points on year, while Oppo shipments fell 1,800 basis points. Vivo’s market share stands at 15%, while Oppo has a 9% share. The Oppo figures do not include the OnePlus brand.

Apple registered 5,00-basis point on-year growth and was the top-selling premium segment brand.

Research Analyst Shilpi Jain said: “Xiaomi registered its highest ever share in the upper-tier (Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000) segment driven by the Xiaomi 11i series. This also resulted in Xiaomi recording its highest ever retail ASP (average selling price).”

“Samsung revamped its Galaxy A series to drive consumer demand in offline channels. Also, the consumer response to the Galaxy S22 series has been quite positive. vivo launched a new ‘T-series’ during the quarter, which made the brand the top 5G brand in the mid (Rs 10,000-Rs 20,000) segment. Among the top five brands, realme was the only brand to register positive growth due to its aggressive portfolio and channel strategy.”

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India’s overall handset market declined 16,000 basis points on year. The feature phone market declined by 3,900 basis points on the back of supply crunch, high inventory levels, and lower consumer demand due to high inflation rates.

Of the total smartphone shipments, 5G handsets contributed over 28%. The share is expected to cross 40% in the coming quarters.

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