The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on all major industries and that included the smartphones as well.
According to the latest report published by Counterpoint Research, online smartphone shipments in India declined by 46% year-on-year while the offline segment declined by 54%.
Nonetheless, it also highlighted how online channels held a 43% share in India’s smartphone shipments in Q2 2020, which can be mostly attributed to people opting for contactless deliveries due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The quarter also witnessed the global e-commerce giant Amazon grabbing a 47% share of India’s online smartphone market whereas the Walmart-owned Flipkart settled with 42% of the share.
The scenario changes upside down when the online sales of smartphones in India is segmented by price.
Flipkart triumphed over Amazon in the INR 10,000 price smartphone segment with more than 50% share in the overall online smartphone market. This shows that the homegrown eCommerce major has a greater grip on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where people are more likely to buy entry and budget smartphones rather than opt for mid-range or premium smartphones.
It is important to note that the Chinese players continued to dominate India’s online segment in Q2 2020 despite all hullabaloo.
The Chinese smartphone major Xiaomi accounted for 44% share of the total online smartphone market in Q2 2020. The phenomenal performance of Xiaomi in India was, once again, led by its pocket-friendly Redmi smartphone series, with Redmi 8A Dual bagging the best-selling device for the quarter.
In the online premium smartphone segment, OnePlus happened to drive the majority shipments and captured more than 50% share while Apple followed closely behind with 25% share.
But, It’s Samsung that stole the limelight!
In just one year, the Korean smartphone major has more than doubled its shipments through online channels in India. Samsung’s online smartphone shipment share increased from 11% in Q2 2019 to a whopping 25% in Q2 2020 despite all the odds.
Has Samsung Finally Cracked Their Online Strategy In India?
When compared to other brands such as Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus who have pulled back on their online smartphone shipments in India in Q2 2020, the rise in Samsung’s market share suggests that there’s definitely a long term strategy in place.
While it can certainly be argued that Samsung’s sudden bump in their online smartphone shipments in India is a result of them being able to predict the consumer’s preference of online channels over retail but that wouldn’t be reason enough for them to go overboard and more than double their shipments.
The more likely scenario here suggests that the COVID-19 allowed Samsung to quickly improvise and pivot their strategy when it comes to properly position themselves in online channels.
The report from Counterpoint Research showed that their top five online models which contributed to almost 90% of Samsung’s Q2 2020 performance were all Galaxy M-series, i.e. budget range smartphones. Thus, it clearly indicates that Samsung is gunning to dominate this particular price segment and take on the Chinese-origin market leader Xiaomi in India.
Here it needs to be noted that the shipment share of Xiaomi, even though still continues to lead India’s online smartphone segment, declined to 44% in Q2 2020 when compared to Q2 2019. This was majorly due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and few strict measures imposed by the Indian government which delayed the shipment of important smartphone parts imported from China.
Now, it will be interesting to observe how Samsung plans to lock heads with Xiaomi in the budget segment for the remainder of the year. Will both of them compete on pricing or features is something we are all looking forward to.
All in all, the report suggested that the online channel will be accounting for 45% of the entire smartphone sale in India in the coming two quarters. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then stay tuned.