As Chinese smartphone makers continue to grow in India, it appears that more people are buying devices online than ever before. In the latest edition of the International Data Corporation's (IDC) quarterly report, online sales have been said to account for a record high of 45.4 percent of all device shipments in India, after accounting for all of the sell-in, sell-out and sell-through inventories in the Indian smartphone market. Shipments to the online segment of retailers in India have grown at a healthy annual rate of 28.3 percent, reflecting on how more users are being drawn by attractive discounts and aggressive marketing campaigns by device makers in the online space.
The IDC report also notes that shipments to offline retailers selling smartphones fell by 2.6 percent annually in India, matching reports of low footfalls in offline retail stores and causing sellers to deal with leftover inventory at the moment. The move is a clear sign of paradigm shift in the Indian market, which has also seen a 17.5 percent decline in feature phone shipments mostly due to increasingly fewer people opting to buy 2/2.5G or even 4G feature phones.
Navkendar Singh, research director of client devices at IDC, said in light of the market trends, "We expect the smartphone market to see only mid-to-high single digit growth for 2019. This can be attributed to a strong undercurrent of passive consumer sentiment and muted shipments in the last quarter of the year due to a record 3Q19, when channel stock levels went up. Additionally, the unabated aggression of the online players will continue to be a challenge for the offline channel, which remains the largest channel for smartphones in India. All these give us an indication of sluggish growth next quarter."
In the smartphone market, India has continued to grow as a strong pre-festive season sale period saw device shipments hit a record high of 46.6 million units, increasing by 9.3 percent annually. The growth has been majorly spurned on by devices in the price bracket of $200-500 (~Rs 15,000-40,000), with the likes of OnePlus 7 and Xiaomi's Redmi K20 Pro leading the roster. Xiaomi still leads the Indian market with 27.1 percent market share, while Samsung held on to second position but witnessed an 8.5 percent decline in shipments to hold 18.9 percent of the market.
Vivo, Realme and Oppo are the other three brands in the top five, with market shares of 15.2, 14.3 and 11.8 percent, respectively. In the top five, Realme witnessed a 4x growth in shipments compared to last year, but going forward, it'll be interesting to see who manages to hold on to their position in the industry.