The Indian smartphone market registered a decline for the first time in several years in 2020, according to the International Data Corporation's (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report. The market ended 2020 with 150 million shipments - a 1.7 percent year-on-year (YoY) decline, according to IDC. The report said that stay-at-home mandates, remote work, remote education, travel restrictions, and manufacturing shutdowns led to a sluggish first half last year, which saw a 26 percent decline. The market however, bounced back in H2 2020, registering a 19 percent YoY growth.
The IDC report said that while the market posted a record fourth-quarter smartphone shipments of 45 million devices (21 percent YoY growth), the smartphone shipments for the full year 2020 remained below the pre-pandemic level. IDC believes that a stronger market acceleration in 2021 will be led by upgraders. The report says that in 2020, online channel outpaced the overall market, growing by 12 percent annually, with a 48 percent market share in 2020. Multiple sales events, promotions, trade-in/upgrade programs, and affordability initiatives helped e-commerce clock a record 51 percent share in Q4 2020. Offline channel saw a 5 percent YoY growth in Q4 2020, according to IDC.
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5G Smartphone Shipments Also Helped Market Bounce Back
IDC said that more than 3 million 5G smartphones were shipped in 2020. It said that Chinese manufacturers led the 5G race as they announced 5G-enabled devices aggressively through 2020. It also said that 5G adoption was limited due to reasons like higher price and lack of a 5G network, both of which are expected to change in 2021.
Top Performing Manufacturers in 2020
In line with other similar reports, the IDC report also said that Xiaomi led the market with its affordable Redmi 8 series and Redmi 9 series smartphones. While Xiaomi continued to face supply shortages through H2 2020, resulting in an annual decline, the Chinese manufacturer maintained its lead with a 39 percent market share in 2020.
Samsung remained in the second spot. In terms of online shipments, Samsung registered a strong 65 percent growth. Offline channels, on the other hand, declined by 28 percent, leading to an overall drop of 4 percent in 2020.
Vivo emerged as the third-most popular brand in the country, witnessing a strong growth in offline channels with a 30 percent share.
Realme came fourth with 19 million annual shipments, registering a 19 percent growth. Realme overtook Oppo, which came fifth as its annual growth remained flat YoY in 2020.
Apple, at the seventh slot, exited 2020 with YoY growth of 93 percent, driven by previous generation products like the iPhone 11, iPhone SE (2020), and iPhone XR, even as the new iPhone 12 series had a strong pickup in Q4 2020.