Smartphone
Smartphone

The Indian smartphone market slipped 2 per cent year-on-year to nearly 145 million units in the pandemic-hit 2020, with the decline being arrested by strong recovery in the second half of the year, research firm Canalys said on Wednesday.

A report by research firm Counterpoint earlier in the day had pointed to a 4 per cent dip in smartphone shipment to over 150 million units in 2020.

Canalys - in its report - said smartphone shipment in the December quarter grew 13 per cent to 43.9 million units, driven by strong sell-in in preparation of holiday promotions.

The September quarter had also seen a record high shipment of smartphones.

"Smartphone vendors saw sustainable momentum towards recovery in India. During 2020, Indian consumer demand has shown incredible resilience towards smartphones, which has given vendors, channel partners and supply chain vendors enough confidence to bump up investments in the market," Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi said.

Along with the ongoing execution of the PLI (Production Linked Incentives) scheme, the looming 5G rollout, as well as new players' entries, Canalys expects a faster recovery for the entire industry in 2021, he added.

In the December quarter, Xiaomi shipped 12 million units (27 per cent market share), followed by Samsung 9.2 million units (21 per cent). Vivo remained in third place in India (7.7 million units), followed by Oppo (5.5 million units) and Realme (5.1 million units).

Chinese vendors collectively shipped 77 per cent smartphones in India during the year.

"Political headwind between China and India is having little to no impact on the momentum vendors like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo gathered in 2020. Chinese vendors collectively contributed to about 77 per cent of total shipments in 2020, against 72 per cent in 2019, with the share likely to continue moving north as the nation prepares itself for the onset of 5G," Canalys Research Analyst Varun Kannan said.

The last power shuffle in India, from Samsung to Xiaomi, occurred when the country made its arduous journey from 3G to 4G, he added.

"As the nation stands on the brink of a mass-market movement to 5G, Chinese vendors will be ready to capitalise on the shift. All-in-all, the outlook for 2021 will be better than just the nation recovering from COVID-19," Kannan said.

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