Realme CEO Madhav Sheth has accepted the recent drop in numbers, but claims this is because the brand concentrated on the more premium segment.
Realme India CEO Madhav Sheth has clarified that the brand is seeing a consolidation after its entry into the premium flagship segment with the launch of the Realme X2 and Realme X2 Pro. He was reacting to an Economic Times report that the end of 2019 wasn't a good one for Realme as IDC numbers showed that the brands’ market share dropped significantly between September and November 2019. The same report showed that Xiaomi, Samsung and Vivo’s market share in India in the fourth quarter of 2019 increased.
Sharing his insight on the report, Sheth suggested to indianexpress.com that entry into premium flagship segment always sees consolidation, “as per industry standards” and hence “the sales seem less”. We reached out to Xiaomi and Samsung, the companies which have reportedly gained, and both refused comment.
But global market analyst firm Canalys told indianexpress.com that the preliminary numbers (the final report for quarter four 2019 is yet to be out) definitely confirm that Realme’s market share in India has dropped in the last quarter of 2019 as a whole, compared to Q3.
Looking at what IDC and Canalys said, we can safely say the downfall in the company's market share happened only after it entered into the premium market with the X series. Realme launched the X series in India to compete with Redmi's K series. It's for the first time that Realme launched phones with a price tag above Rs 25,000.
Realme launched the X series in India to compete with Redmi's K series. It's for the first time that Realme launched phones with a price tag above Rs 25,000. (Image source: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)
Realme flooded the Indian smartphone market by launching innumerable phones in 2019. For most part of the year, Realme India's market share increased drastically, mostly thanks to the affordable, value for money phones it brought to the country.
IDC report for quarter three 2019 showed Realme's shipments up by more than 400 per cent year-on-year with 14.3 per cent. The research firm stated that Realme's success in quarter three came mostly from the affordable phones like Realme C2, Realme 3 and Realme 5 series of phones. So the fall could actually be a normalisation of numbers. Also, when a sales in high value models go up, the revenue also tends to increase even with smaller numbers.
Online festive sales worked in Realme’s favour
IDC said 80 per cent of Realme’s sales in India still come from online channels only. Plus the fourth quarter sees a cyclical dip.
"Realme X series has seen an upsurge in demand in the mid premium segment but that alone can not compensate for lower numbers of volume generation non-X series for Realme. The prime reason for drop will be more pumping to online channel ( as majority portfolio of Realme is online) in Q3 with subsequent channel inventory in the next quarter," Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, at IDC India said in a statement to indianexpress.com.
She added that in the fourth quarter, "shipments of major brands will see a drop owing to the fact that majority shipments have already happened in the third quarter, more so in the online channel and remaining which happens for offline in the subsequent quarter."
In line with the IDC report, Canalys also said the online festive season helped Realme’ business in India grow. “Realme is indeed an online-focused brand, and with the two biggest e-commerce sites – Flipkart and Amazon -- having their largest sales in India in the month of September gave them a big boost for their Q3 sales. As a consequence, their Q3 sales were quite high, and Q4 has brought them back down to earth a little bit,” Canalys said.
IDC said Realme’s shipments peaked in September, the festive month, with 16.74 per cent market share, but dropped significantly between November and December. In November, Realme's market share was 9.3 per cent, while in December it further dropped to 8.23 per cent.
Sheth said Realme has consistently been the No 1 brand on Flipkart, all through October, November and December 2019 with both sell-in and sell-out data. “Our hot-selling smartphones were launched before the festive season i.e. Realme XT and Realme 5 Pro which gave us amazing sales, amounting to 5.2 million in October.”
“Realme had a fruitful 2019 wherein we successfully achieved 15 million sales in a year. Our capabilities have showcased that we have a respectable inventory and our update of stocks onto e-commerce platforms and offline channels are good. Hence, we sent out more stocks and reached the No. 3 position by sell-in in September as per Counterpoint, which was only thousands of units less than No. 2,”
Realme in 2020
Talking about the roadmap for this year, Sheth said, "we are more than ready to take on the 2020 with amazing products and solid sales to ensure we remain the fastest growing brand of India."
Realme has already revealed that Realme will launch its fitness band, and a smartphone with the newly announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G. The company has confirmed that it will also be one of the first brands to launch a 5G powered smartphone in the country this year.
To know more about what Realme is up to read our Realme brand blog