India has reportedly surpassed the US to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China. According to latest data from Counterpoint Research, smartphone shipments in India reached 158 million units in 2019 with a 7.7 percent year-on-year growth, thanks largely to competitively-priced mid-range smartphones from Chinese brands, which were aided in their market dominance by e-commerce platforms, like Flipkart and Amazon.
According to the report, the Chinese brands accounted for a combined 72 percent market share in 2019 compared to 60 percent in 2018. All major Chinese brands, including Xiaomi, Realme (which recently rolled out Realme UI with features like the ability to take partial screenshots and Realme Share), Oppo, Vivo, etc expanded their operations in the country last year by not only increasing their presence in the offline market, but also venturing into the services sector by investing in different segments like entertainment, gaming, financial services and more.
In a press statement, Counterpoint’s associate director, Tarun Pathak, argued that the smartphone market in India still has room for substantial growth in the foreseeable future. According to him: “India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets … Going forward, we expect … demand to grow further due to the ongoing transition from feature phones to smartphones and progressive diffusion of key smartphone features to the entry-level price tier as a result of hyper-competition among multiple players”.
At a granular level, Xiaomi retained its pole position on the back of a strong showing from its Redmi Note series, which continues to go from strength to strength in India. Samsung, however, saw a decline of 5 percent on a YoY basis in spite of reports of a strong showing from its Galaxy A-series devices. Realme registered a massive 255 percent growth, largely because it was only launched midway through 2018, while Transsion Group, which owns brands like Infinix and Tecno, reached its highest ever market share in Q4 2019.