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Top Five Smartphone Brands In India In 2020
COVID-19 made things tough for businesses around the globe. The world wasn't ready for a pandemic and the unimaginable challenges it brought along on the personal and professional front. Like any other business organization, the leading smartphone brands also faced unthinkable obstacles in meeting their annual targets. Smartphone sales in India declined sharply in the second quarter due to restrictions posed by the novel coronavirus.
Things started getting back on track in the third quarter when the lockdown restrictions were relaxed on the manufacturing and selling of consumer technology products. As expected, smartphone sales spiked up across the country, especially in the offline market. What we didn't expect were the monumental sales figures.
According to the Counterpoint Research report, the Indian smartphone market clocked the highest-ever shipments in a single quarter. The market recorded 9% YoY growth in 2020 with over 53 million smartphone units shipped in the last few months. Leading smartphone brands in India rushed to fill the gap with lucrative discounts and offers during the festive season to capture the huge demand.
Here's a list of smartphone brands that ruled the Indian smartphone market in 2020.
Samsung: 32% YoY Growth
Samsung toppled Xiaomi after a gap of two years. The Korean technology giant became the leading smartphone brand in India with 32% YoY growth. The credit goes to the brands' effective supply chain and hard work put in creating a wide product portfolio for Indian consumers and to gain back the lost market share to the Chinese smartphone brands.
Samsung now offers multiple series and dozens of phones in multiple price-ranges which helped the brand overcome Chinese brand' dominance in India. The Galaxy M, Galaxy A, and the newly introduced Galaxy F-series offer feature-packed budget and mid-range smartphones that sold in huge numbers in the past few months.
However, the fight has just started and 2021 will bring a new dawn of low-cost 5G-enabled smartphones. Chinese brands have already started working towards introducing affordable 5G smartphones and more will follow in the coming months. Motorola Moto g 5g, Vivo V20 Pro, and the OnePlus Nord are some examples.
What Samsung needs in the coming months is a line-up of mid-range 5G-enabled smartphones to keep the motion on-going. Otherwise, Chinese brands will once again take the lead and Samsung will lose the market share in the coming years.
Xiaomi- 4% YoY Decline
Xiaomi populated the Indian market with multiple budgets, mid-range, and even flagship handsets in 2020 and managed to sell them in big numbers. However, despite some feature-packed offerings, the company slipped to the second position for the first time since 2018 (Third Quarter- Q3). The pandemic triggered restrictions on manufacturing and imports pushed Xiaomi to the second spot with a 4% YoY decline. We believe Xiaomi will rise again in 2021 to give a tough fight to Samsung. The company's Redmi Note and Redmi series will create some serious troubles for Samsung's sub-20k handsets.
If Xiaomi manages to introduce a sub-20K 5G-enabled handset in Q1 2021, the brand will have a chance to lead the category in India. Importantly, Xiaomi's most loved child- Poco has also grown up to become an independent brand and displayed some impressive sales figures in 2020 (Online sales).
As per IDC India National Monthly Smartphone Tracker, October 2020, Poco broke into the ‘Top 5 List of Smartphone Brands' (by volume), thanks to exciting festive season sale offers and discounts on handsets such as Poco X2, Poco X3, M2 Pro, Poco M2, etc. during October. POCO was placed as #4 amongst all smartphone brands in India and we are expecting the brand to scale new heights in 2021.
Vivo- 4% YoY Growth
While Xiaomi recorded a 4% YoY decline, Vivo managed to retain the third spot with a 4% YoY growth (Q3 2020). The credit goes to the brands' Y-series portfolio that offers pocket-friendly handsets with big displays and beefier battery cells to offer long-lasting battery life. Also, the Vivo V-series smartphones are quite popular in India for their attractive design and best-in-class selfie cameras that appeal to youngsters, especially content creators.
Realme-4% YoY Growth
Realme also showed positive growth at the end of 2020. The brand grew 4% YoY in Q3 2020, thanks to its aggressive marketing and feature-packed product-line-up of smartphones and wearables. As per IDC, Realme shipments grew 52% YoY in the mid-tier segment, thanks to the Realme 6 and 7-series devices that brought higher refresh rate panels, bigger battery units, and higher megapixel count for the rear cameras. Realme mentions that it sold 8.3 million units out of which 6.3 million were smartphones during realme festive days 2020. The brand recorded a 20% growth compared to the festive season last year. We are expecting Realme to maintain or secure a better position in the coming year.
OPPO-30% YoY Growth
Interestingly, the parent brand of Realme slipped to the fifth spot by the end of 2020. Oppo somehow lost most of its market share to Xiaomi, Vivo, and its sub-brand Realme in the last four quarters. Oppo's current product portfolio lacks segment-leading features and mostly seems boring. The brand is largely surviving in India due to its strong offline presence and budget offerings that focus on selfie cameras and design. As per IDC, Oppo's shipments grew 30% YoY in Q3 2020. The numbers were largely driven by good offline sales of its A-series handsets such as A12, A11, A52, A53 (2020), and the F15 to some extent.
Oppo could have sold the Reno 4 Pro in big numbers but the phone's pricing got it into a tight spot. We expect Oppo to come up with some aggressive pricing for the upcoming Reno 5 and Reno 5 Pro handsets.