This year, about 337 million people in India will own a smartphone, witnessing a 15.6% growth. This is the highest estimated growth rate in the smartphone industry by any country in the world. Despite the promising market scenario, India is struggling to grow in term of quarterly smartphone shipments. Overall, the smartphone shipments in India decreased by 1% YoY, to 40.4 million units in Q3 2018, according to Canalys. However, it is a significant 23.9% Q-o-Q increase as compared to Q2 2018, which recorded 36.2 million shipments of smartphones.
This is only the second time in history when India smartphone market witnessed a year-over-year decline. The India smartphone industry went through shock waves in Q2 2017 first time when the industry recorded 4% YoY decline in the quarterly smartphone shipments.
Smartphone Shipments In India Q3 2018: Xiaomi Is An Undisputed King
It’s the fourth quarter in a row when Xiaomi emerged as the leader in India’s smartphone market. The Chinese smartphone giant shipped a record 12.1 million smartphone units in Q3 2018, posting a strong 32% YoY growth. Its online and offline sales strategy helping the company to achieve new milestones by each passing quarter. Xiaomi is also dominating India’s online smartphone market with a whopping 54% share, according to Counterpoint Research.
After dominating the entry and mid-segment, Xiaomi finally entered India’s premium segment, with its newly-launched Mi Mix 3. However, it would be interesting to see when Xiaomi will overtake OnePlus, Samsung or Apple. Together, these top three smartphone brands account for 83% share of India’s premium market as of Q3 2018.
Despite receiving a strong market response to Galaxy Note 9, Samsung’s India smartphone shipments in Q3 2018 declined 2% YoY, putting it at second place. The Korean electronics giant shipped only 9.3 million smartphones in Q3 2018, accounting for 23% of the quarterly smartphone shipments Q3 2018.
Samsung performance portrays a worrisome scenario for the company in India. With each passing quarter, the shipment share is declining. In Q2 2018, Samsung shipped 9.9 million units.
Other two Chinese players Vivo and Oppo came third and fourth, with shipments of 4.5 million and 3.6 million units, respectively.
Interestingly, Realme is the first ever smartphone brand to hit one million shipments within five months of launch across online channels. However, despite the strong performance of the Realme brand, Oppo hardly managed to ship 3.6 million units of smartphones in Q3 2018. Out of that, almost 800,000 units were from Realme. Combined, Oppo and Realme smartphone shipments declined 2% YoY during the quarter.
Surprisingly, Oppo’s self-branded smartphone shipments fell by a huge 24% YoY.
The Rise of Micromax: The Surprising Re-Entry
8 out of India’s top 10 smartphone vendors have managed to see some significant growth during the quarter. Some of them have launched new devices with jaw-dropping features at attractive prices, while others have diversified their business with the new brands or sub-brands like Oppo’s Realme and Xiaomi’s POCO.
The most surprising is the re-entry of Micromax in top 5 smartphone vendors in India in Q3 2018, after two years. The Indian vendor shipped 2.6 million units of smartphones in during the quarter, a whopping 63% YoY growth.
However, it’s quite unlikely that Micromax could maintain its position in the quarters to come. Micromax’s sudden rise to the top 5 smartphone vendors in Q3 2018 is a result of the contract to supply 5 million units of smartphones the company won recently along with Reliance Jio.
It was the first time in Q4 2016 when Chinese vendors completely wiped out Indian local vendors from the list of top 5 smartphone vendors in the country. Since then Chinese players such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo have been acquiring the sizable share of the Indian smartphone shipments, with extremely price-competitive devices.
“For some Chinese vendors, the ‘forced’ investment into India’s local manufacturing might prove to be a silver lining. With wages constantly rising in China, India’s falling rupee and lower manpower costs allow vendors to sustain their competitive pricing models”, says Canalys analyst TuanAnh Nguyen.
It would be interesting to see how the figures will change in Q4 2018, considering it’s the biggest festival season of the year. Almost every smartphone manufacturer has upped the ante and will leave no stone unturned to capture a sizeable share of the India smartphone shipments in Q4 2018. Will all this result in a major change in the position of smartphone vendors in India? Will Samsung bounce back? Whatever the scenario and situation be, one thing is certain – the price war among the smartphone vendors is making customers to emerge as the ultimate winners!