Samsung pips Xiaomi to become India's top smartphone brand after 2 years: Report

Korean handset maker Samsung pipped China’s Xiaomi to become the leading smartphone company after two years with 32% year-on-year growth in the July-September quarter of 2020.

NEW DELHI: Korean handset maker Samsung pipped China’s Xiaomi to become the leading smartphone company after two years with 32% year-on-year growth in the July-September quarter of 2020, Counterpoint Research said. Samsung’s strong performance was the result of multiple strategies, including effective supply chain and touching various price points through new launches. Samsung’s aggressive push in online channels, with the highest ever online contribution within its portfolio, also helped it regain its number one spot, the agency said.

Xiaomi slipped to number two position for the first time since Q3 2018 with 4% year-on-year decline. Manufacturing constraints due to the COVID-19 situation affected its supply chain, leading to a supply-demand gap. Another market research company Canalys, however, said that Xiaomi was the largest smartphone brand in the July-September quarter. It added that smartphone shipments in India posted a growth of 8% to reach a record 50 million units in Q3 2020. As per Counterpoint, Apple led the premium segment (Rs 30,000 and above) 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.

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Overall smartphone shipments grew 9% on year to reach over 53 million units in Q3 2020, highest-ever shipment 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. Counterpoint said that Indian consumers are still preferring online platforms due to COVID-19 fears. “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,” senior research analyst Prachir Singh said.

In terms of price bands, the mid-tier (Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000) segment registered the highest growth and reached its highest ever share in a quarter. Research analyst Shilpi Jain said that during the start of the quarter, some anti-China consumer sentiments were observed in the market which impacted sales of brands originating from China. “However, these sentiments have subsided as consumers are weighing in different parameters during the purchase as well. The brands have been quite aggressive as they started building up inventory much ahead of the festive season,” Jain added

Vivo grew 4% on year and retained its third position, driven by strong demand for its Y-series models in offline channels. Realme also grew 4% YoY in Q3 2020 as it was able to manage supply issues with increased production. Oppo stood at the fifth spot and it saw its shipments grew 30% year-on-year in the quarter.
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