Xiaomi leaves behind Samsung to gain the top spot in the Indian market owing to strong sales on all online platforms. According to the latest research report by Canalys, India’s smartphone shipments grew 11 percent to 37.1 million units in Q1 2021 however COVID-19 resurgence will hit Q2.
The Canalys Smartphone Market Pulse report says that the favourable macroeconomic factors helped smartphone vendors capitalize on the growing importance of smartphones for remote education for Generation Z, for work and leisure for Millennials. In the Q1 of 2021, the Indian market recorded 37.1 million units while Xiaomi retained its top spot as the market leader with 10.5 million shipments accounting for 28% of the market share.
On the other hand, Samsung has fallen to the second position with shipping 7.0 million units. its market share fell to 19% from 21% in the previous quarter. Vivo reserved the third position with 6.7 million shipments followed by Oppo with 4.7 million units and Realme completed the top five with 4.3 million.
The Canalys report points out that in Q1 a surge in the device offerings appeared to be due to subsiding COVID-19 cases. Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia emphasizes that “It was a quarter to celebrate in India, as every one of the top five vendors grew”.
He further added that “Xiaomi, for example, continued to drive its multi-brand strategy in established online channels, and is now implementing new initiatives to grow its offline presence. For example, its ‘Mi Store on Wheels’ turns road vehicles into mobile stores to reach smaller towns and rural locations. In the premium segment, Apple had a stellar performance in what is traditionally a soft quarter. Following a strong festival quarter, it shipped over a million iPhones in Q1, with demand for the iPhone 12 supported by the local assembly and attractive finance offers, as well as sustained demand for the older iPhone 11. But the market-wide celebration will be short-lived, as a resurgence of COVID-19 in India in Q2 will derail momentum.”
The smartphone shipments in India are also likely to jump in Q2 2021 due to the second wave of COVID-19. As the geographical distribution of cases varies widely, a nationwide lockdown seems unlikely. But regional lockdowns could hamper the transport of raw materials and devices due to limited inter-state travel. Hence, for smartphone brands and channels, building up optimum inventory could prove to be a hurdle in the second half of the year.
On the flipside Varun Kannan, Canalys Analyst also highlighted that unfavourable macroeconomic factors will lead to a rising smartphone ASP. According to the analyst, the combination of the ongoing supply crunch on key imported components and a weaker Rupee will make it increasingly difficult for vendors to maintain margins at current price levels. Therefore impacting the cost, which will hit particularly hard in the sub-US$200 smartphone segment, which accounted for 81% of the market last year.
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