India’s smartphone market saw 7 per cent year-over-year (YoY) growth in 2021, despite supply chain-related issues linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the research firm International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Total shipments clocked at 161 million for the year, and while the year started strong, the second wave of Covid-19 impacted overall growth.
According to IDC, constrained supplies resulted in low inventories across online and offline distribution channels in the second half of the year. This is when the Indian market has a high demand given the festive season. The big winner in 2021 was Realme, which managed to reach the number two vendor position in the final quarter of the year. This was also noted by reports from other research firms such as Canalys, and Counterpoint Research. It was also the only player which saw double-digit growth in the quarter as well as the entire year.
“Overall, supply challenges and the second wave of Covid-19 severely restricted the market’s ability to achieve double-digit growth in 2021. Consumer demand is lower than expected as we entered 2022, but supply challenges are expected to ease by mid-2022, which should help in maintaining similar growth levels in 2022,” Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India said.
IDC expects that the transition from 4G to 5G will continue to drive growth in 2022, though it will be limited to the mi and high-tier price segments. “Consumers continue to demand better features like the camera, battery, and processors over 5G capability in the entry-level price segments. The large feature phone base will remain crucial but elusive to the smartphone market in the absence of any affordable offerings at the entry-level,” Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India said.
The IDC report also highlights that the Indian smartphone market saw MediaTek-based smartphones grabbing 54 per cent market share, gaining a lead over Qualcomm. Interestingly, 85 per cent of the MediaTek smartphones in the market are below the $200 price market. UNISOC has around 7 per cent share, which is up 2 per cent from previous years.
The other key aspect was the increase in the average selling price to $190 or Rs 15,000. Further, the share of the premium segment doubled from a year ago to 4 per cent in 2021. The segment saw 100 per cent annual growth driven largely by higher Apple shipments. The sub-$100 was the only segment to decline.
Xiaomi remained on top in all four quarters, but it saw an overall decline of 1.5 per cent YoY in 2021. Meanwhile, Poco which is considered under Xiaomi shipments by IDC emerged as the fastest growing online brand among the top five with 51 per cent YoY growth.
Samsung was number two overall in the year, though it lost the spot in the fourth quarter to Realme. Samsung saw a YoY decline of 6 per cent. IDC notes that there were persistent supply constraints especially for Galaxy A series in the low to mid-price segment, and for foldable devices in the premium segment. But Samsung led the 5G segment thanks to the Galaxy A22, M32, and M42 models.
Vivo was number three overall, and they too saw a shipment decline of 6 per cent. The brand’s Y series continued to be a major contributor. But Vivo too faced supply challenges, which impacted overall growth.
Realme at the fourth slot registered the highest growth of 26 per cent YoY amongst the top five vendors. It also rose to the second slot in the fourth quarter surpassing Samsung. The market share for Realme in Q4 was 19 per cent. Interestingly, Realme’s UNISOC-based chipset phones helped drive success in Q4. Shipments of these Realme phones reached 60 per cent of the brand’s overall total, ensuring sufficient supplies in the final quarter.
OPPO, at the fifth slot, saw a growth of 8 per cent YoY in 2021. It also surpassed Samsung for the second slot annually in the offline channel with a share of 18 per cent.
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