India Smartphone Shipments on the Rise Again, 17% Growth Registered in Q3 2020 Despite Pandemic

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The coronavirus pandemic dealt a major blow to supply chains across the countries and industries. While the whole world is still coping with the loss incurred during months of lockdowns and restrictions, India's smartphone market seems to be picking up at a decent pace. According to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the Indian smartphone market was the only one among the top three markets in the world to see a rising trend in smartphone sales in Q3 2020. While the Chinese and US smartphone markets declined year-on-year in Q3, the Indian market recorded a 17 percent year-on-year growth in Q3 2020, the IDC Quarterly Mobile Tracker report said.

A record 54.3 million units were shipped in India during the quarter that ended in September. The rise was fueled by pent-up demand in July and August, followed by the festive season. The IDC report said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cautious consumers preferred online purchases, which led to the online sales share reaching an all time high of 48 percent, with a 24 percent year-on-year growth. Offline channels, on the other hand, witnessed a modest 11 percent YoY growth, since new launches were met with severe supply chain constraints. IDC, in its report, expected the growth in online channels to continue.

The IDC report said that while manufacturers launched more low-priced smartphones, they upped the game on specifications with more phones featuring quad-cameras, high megapixel counts, more storage, and bigger batteries, even as the price declined. Further, Q3 2020 also saw one million 5G smartphone shipments, even though 5G technology is only launch in India in the later half of 2021.

The report also said that the average selling price (ASP) for smartphones declined by 2 percent YoY at $156 (roughly Rs. 11,600). 84 percent of the shipments in Q3 2020 were for smartphones in the sub-$200 (roughly Rs. 14,800) range, with 29 percent being below $100 (roughly Rs. 7,400). The report said that this was driven by learning requirements since smartphone is the only device for internet access in most Indian households. The mid-range (sub-Rs 35,000) segment declined year-on-year, as customers held back on upgrading due to economic uncertainty. On the other hand, premium smartphones (Rs. 35,000 above) surprisingly witnessed a strong 91 percent YoY growth. Apple, OnePlus, and Samsung remained the top three premium smartphone brands in India.

Finally, the report said that a total of 25 million feature phones were shipped in Q3 2020, a 30 percent decline over last year's figures for the same quarter. As a result, the overall mobile phone market saw a 4 percent YoY drop in shipments, with feature phones accounting for a 31 percent share.

The IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report also said that Xiaomi was the top-selling brand in the third quarter, followed by Samsung, then Vivo, then Realme, and then Oppo. According to IDC, Xiaomi accounted for a 25 percent market share in Q3 2020.