Riding on Chinese brands, the India smartphone market surpassed the US for the first time on an annual level, becoming the second-largest smartphone market after China globally -- reaching 158 million shipments in the calendar year 2019 with 7 percent (YoY) growth, a report from Counterpoint Research said on Friday. While Xiaomi continued to be the top player with 28 percent market share in the calendar year 2019, Samsung was second with 21 percent and Vivo at 16 percent market share, said Counterpoint's 'Market Monitor' service.
"Although the rate of growth for smartphone market hit single digit for the first time ever on an annual basis, India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets with 4G penetration in terms of subscribers being around 55 percent," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint.
"Chinese brands share hit a record 72 percent for the year 2019 as compared to 60 percent share a year ago. "This year, we have seen all major Chinese players expanding their footprint in offline and online channels to gain market share. For instance, Xiaomi, realme, and OnePlus have increased their offline points of sale while brands like Vivo have expanded their online reach with Z and U series," said Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint. Over the past four years, Xiaomi, Vivo, and OnePlus have grown 15 times, 24 times and 18 percent, respectively.
"This highlights that OEMs are mature enough to capture the next wave of growth and expand their operations in India," Jain added. Samsung shipments remained almost flat (YoY) while it has shown a 5 percent (YoY) decline in 2019. "This is for the first time Samsung transitioned to a completely new portfolio targeting different channels (offline with A series and online with M series). However, it needs to double down its efforts to keep the momentum going," the report noted. While the smartphone market registered YoY growth, the feature phone market witnessed a steep decline of nearly 42 percent YoY in 2019 and 38 percent (YoY) in Q4 2019.
"This is due to the slowdown in the new shipments from Reliance Jio. However, the players such as itel, Lava, Nokia and Micromax registered positive annual growth despite the overall segment declined to show the untapped potential of the market," said the report. In fact, itel emerged as the number one feature phone brand in Q4 2019, followed by Samsung and Lava.