Reliance’s JioPhone no longer top selling feature phone, loses spot to Samsung

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Published: October 25, 2019 2:41 AM

It is also offering 4G data worth Rs 700 free with the phone.

JioPhone’s share in the quarter under review plummeted to 4%. Since its launch in August 2017, it has sold around 70 million units.

Reliance Jio’s 4G feature phone has lost the top spot in the Indian market to Samsung during the July-September quarter of the 2019 calendar year (CY). The company, which ruled the feature phone market for more than a year, was edged out of the top five vendors slot by another domestic player, Karbonn.

According to the Q3 2019 feature phone market statistics by Counterpoint Research, Samsung now controls 22% market share in the feature phone segment, followed by Itel and Lava (16% each), Nokia (12%) and Karbonn (7%). JioPhone’s share in the quarter under review plummeted to 4%. Since its launch in August 2017, it has sold around 70 million units.

During the April-June 2019 quarter, JioPhone’s market share in the feature phone segment declined to 28%. This was its third straight quarter of loss. JioPhone controlled a market share of 30% in Q1 2019 and 38% in October-December 2018. During the April-June 2018 quarter, it commanded a market share of 47%, it highest ever.

JioPhone’s decline also spelled doom for the feature phone market, which witnessed a steep fall of around 37% year-on-year in Q3 2019. This was on account of the slowdown in new shipments from Reliance Jio as the operator was focused on clearing the older JioPhone inventory ahead of the Diwali season, Counterpoint Research said.

“As a result, the players such as itel, Lava and Karbonn registered positive annual growth despite the overall segment declined. In fact, itel emerged as the number two feature phone brand in Q3 2019,” said research analyst at Counterpoint Research Anshika Jain.

Aiming to revive the flagging sales of its VoLTE-enabled feature phone, Reliance Industries on October 1 announced a one-time festival season offer for the JioPhone, under which consumers can now purchase the handset for Rs 699 against its original price of Rs 1,500. It is also offering 4G data worth Rs 700 free with the phone.

On the other hand, the smartphone segment registered its best ever quarter during Q3 2019, with shipments hitting their highest mark ever despite economic slowdown with a 10% y-o-y growth. Driven by new launches, discounts and various pre-Diwali sales by all the leading smartphone brands for the festive season, smartphone shipments peaked at an impressive 49 million units during the period.
Commenting on the market dynamics, Counterpoint Research analyst Karn Chauhan said, “Indian smartphone market grew in double digits reaching a record 49 million units in Q3 2019 offsetting the ongoing economic slowdown in other sectors. Given maturity of smartphone users in terms of digital content consumption, commerce and communication, the smartphone has become central to people’s lives taking a priority in terms of their share of wallet.”

Besides, smartphone brands continue to expand their product portfolio with attractive advanced features from quad camera to full view display to fast-charging larger battery for the mainstream and the mass market.

As a result, this holiday season, the agency estimates the demand for smartphones to supersede other categories despite an uncertain economic climate, he added.

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