Smartphone Shipments India Q1 2021: Xiaomi Leads Despite 5% Drop [REPORT]

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Riding high on pent up demand, new launches and promotions, the Indian smartphone market has registered a stellar 23% year-over-year growth in Q1 2021!

According to the latest report by Counterpoint Research, Indian smartphone shipments reached over 38 million units in the first quarter of the calendar year 2021, the highest ever smartphone shipments in India in the first quarter.

Xiaomi, the Chinese-origin smartphone brand, grabbed the first spot even though it suffered a 5% drop in shipment share, down from 31% in Q1 2020 to 26% in Q1 2021. It is quite interesting to observe that the company that visibly lost the pole position in Q3 2020 amid heightened anti-China sentiments managed to comfortably outpace Samsung, its closest rival.

In Q3 2020, Xiaomi saw its market share shrink by 3% QoQ to 23%, which resulted in Samsung grabbing the first position with 24% smartphone shipment share for the first time in 2 years. However, the lead was short-lived. As soon as the anti-China sentiments started waning off, Xiaomi once again climbed back to the lead position in Q4 2020 with a market share of 26%.

Via GraphFarm

And now, after the figures on smartphone shipments share in India for Q1 2021 are out, it seems like the normalcy wherein Chinese brands hog the Indian smartphone space has been restored.

Nonetheless, Samsung registered the largest volume growth of 52% and strengthened its shipment share from 16% to 20%, moving ahead of Vivo.

According to Counterpoint researchers, Samsung’s massive volume growth was mainly driven by its increasing focus on the budget segment with the launch of the new M02 along with several others. The South Korean smartphone manufacturer also refreshed its A-series with the A32, A52 and A72 and the M-Series with M12.

Samsung also launched its latest flagship smartphone Galaxy S21 series prior to its anticipated launch period and attempted to gain market share in offline retail after being extremely aggressive on online channels in 2020.

In the March-end quarter, Chinese smartphone brands, altogether, held a whopping 75% market share.

Shilpi Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint, mentioned that Xiaomi’s move to expand its manufacturing capabilities with a new EMS partner was a major factor that helped the brand maintain strong shipments during the quarter.

Furthermore, she also mentioned that all major brands are currently focusing on driving consumer demand by launching new smartphones. In Q1 2021, Samsung maintained a high number of new launches with its Galaxy M-series, Galaxy F-series and Galaxy S21 series.

On the other hand, similar to the smartphone segment, the feature phone shipments in India was also dominated by a Chinese brand iTel which accounted for a 21% market share in Q1 2021. The overall feature phone segment saw a substantial 14% YoY growth backed by strong shipments of JioPhone’s new model and subsequent promotions. The overall mobile handset market of India grew by 19% YoY.

All in all, even though Q1 2021 numbers look quite impressive they might not be indicative of future growth. This is because, currently, a second and more virulent wave of COVID-19 is doing rounds in India, which is very likely to impact the smartphone shipments in India during the ongoing Q2 and upcoming Q3 of 2021. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.


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