Indian smartphone market shows highest global growth, with Xiaomi in top spot
By now, it is open knowledge that India has tremendous untapped potential when it comes to smartphones. The vast majority of the 1.3 billion people in the country are either without a smartphone (sticking to basic phones, or even foregoing them personally), or prefer entry-level and budget smartphones because of limited needs and/or disposable income. India’s smartphone penetration was supposed to reach 337 Million in 2018, according to a report published in early 2018. Even with those numbers, there would still be a Billion people who do not have their own smartphone, making the country the most lucrative market for the foreseeable future.
India’s smartphone future continues to look bright, despite an overall decline in global smartphone shipments. According to a fresh report by Canalys, smartphone shipments in the country stood at 137 Million in 2018, which is up by 12 Million from the previous year and the most growth of any market in terms of volume. India now by itself accounts for more than 10% of the world’s smartphone market. It is also the only market that has seen consecutive growth for the past three years.
Within India, the top spot belongs to Xiaomi, with the Chinese OEM managing to ship 41 Million units in the country, accounting for 30% of the total Indian smartphone market. Samsung stood second, with a market share of 26%, with Vivo at 10.5%, Oppo (excluding Realme) at 8.2%, Micromax at 3.4% and the rest capturing a total of 22% of the market.
India’s importance for Xiaomi can be seen from the fact that the country is now their biggest market worldwide, even more than China. In Q4 2018, Xiaomi shipped 9.4 Million phones to China and 10 Million to India. Within Q4 2018, shipments in India stood at 34.1 Million units. Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and Oppo were the top four vendors, with Huawei (combined with Honor) making an appearance in the fifth place.
However, 2019 may see a shift in the purchase behaviour of Indians. The recent FDI policy changes made it more difficult for online marketplaces like Amazon.in and Flipkart to conduct a profitable business. In light of the upcoming elections in the country, the government is also aiming to please smaller, offline traders and other domestic producers. This in turn can lead to a greater emphasis on offline sales and country-wide offline retail distribution networks, as against online sales; giving Samsung an advantage over Xiaomi and other online-oriented players.