Consumer Preferences: No effect of border tensions with China on Indian smartphone choicesFebruary 7, 2021
The ongoing border tensions and the anti-China sentiment in India have failed to check the dominance of Chinese handset makers, who controlled a whopping 77% of the total 145 million smartphones shipped during the last calendar year. Analysts expect that as India prepares for 5G, these brands are expected to increase their influence in the domestic market in 2021.
“Political headwinds between China and India are having little to no impact on the momentum vendors like Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo gathered in 2020. Chinese vendors collectively contributed to about 77% of total shipments in 2020, against 72% in 2019, with the share likely to continue moving north as the nation prepares itself for the onset of 5G,” Canalys Research analyst Varun Kannan said.
During Q4 2020, Xiaomi shipped 12 million units consolidating its lead with 27% market share followed by Samsung with 9.2 million shipments and a market share of 21%. Vivo remained third shipping 7.7 million smartphones, while Oppo moved up the ranks to fourth place with 5.5 million units. Realme came in fifth, shipping 5.1 million units, Canalys said.
“The last power shuffle in India, from Samsung to Xiaomi, occurred when the country made its arduous journey from 3G to 4G. As the nation stands on the brink of a mass-market movement to 5G, Chinese vendors will be ready to capitalise on the shift. All-in-all, the outlook for 2021 will be better than just the nation recovering from Covid-19,” Kannan added.
Overall, the smartphone market finished 2020 with nearly 145 million units compared to 148 million units in 2019, marking the world’s second-largest smartphone market’s first full year decline in history. However, following a record high quarter in Q3 2020 driven by strong sell-in preparation of holiday promotions, shipments in India during Q4 2020 stood at 43.9 million units, a healthy growth of 13% over Q4 2019, Canalys said.
Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi said, “Along with the ongoing execution of the PLI (production linked incentives) scheme, the looming 5G rollout, as well as new players’ entries, we expect a faster recovery for the entire industry in 2021. The pandemic underlined the need for connectivity, with smartphones at the centre of people’s lives and livelihoods.”
On the whole, the market is now poised to adopt newer technology faster than it did before, be it 5G, rollable displays or even connected technology like hearables or wearables.
The pandemic has fueled the desire for consumer tech ownership, he added.
Doshi emphasises that during the last calendar year, Indian consumer demand has shown incredible resilience towards smartphones, which has given vendors, channel partners and supply chain vendors enough confidence to bump up investments in the market.