With the overall growth of India's mobile phone shipments by 11 per cent and smartphone shipments by 10 per cent in 2018 and with feature phones growing faster than smartphones in recent times, Xiaomi has come to command the Indian smartphone market, while Reliance Jio has begun to dominate both feature phones and the overall handset market.
According to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service report, India mobile phone shipments crossed 330 million units for the first time ever, with smartphones capturing almost 44 per cent of the total volume in 2018. Driven by Jio phone, feature phones grew faster than smartphones during the year for the first time ever.
While Xiaomi grabbed the top spot with 28 per cent, Samsung stood second in smartphone shipments in CY 2018 with 24 per cent. Vivo with 10 per cent share stood third and Oppo stood fourth with eight per cent share.
‘India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China. It has just surpassed 430 million smartphone users. However, this accounts for just 45 per cent of the potential total addressable market for smartphones. India is underpenetrated relative to many other markets. This was one the key reasons for its growth in 2018, where not only new users shifted towards smartphones but there was a healthy upgrade within price tiers, especially from entry-level smartphones to the mid-tier segment,’ said Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.
In terms of revenue, the market grew even faster at a growth rate of 19 per cent during the year, with Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO and Apple being the market leaders. Jio was the overall market leader across all handset types in 2018, with a market share of 21 per cent.
Samsung has been holding the pole position, in terms of shipments, in the smartphone market ever since it dethroned Nokia in 2102. It was also the category leader in feature phones since 2015. Despite losing the number one spot, Samsung still managed to grow faster than the overall smartphone market. It’s now aggressively upgrading its portfolio in key-price tiers to regain its market share. The upcoming launch of India-first M series is a positive step in that direction.
Xiaomi recorded its highest ever shipments in India during 2018. Strong product portfolio and aggressive channel strategy helped it gain market share. Additionally, in 2018 it has expanded its offline reach with an increased focus on its Mi preferred partners.
Vivo’s performance during the year remained strong, as it streamlined its channel with its flagship V series doing well in 218 than the previous year. Throughout the year, the top five smartphone positions didn’t change much, except in 4Q, when Realme made its entry in the list of top five smartphone brands, surpassing OPPO.
Chinese brands registered their strongest ever annual performance in India, capturing a record 60 per cent smartphone market share up from 54 per cent during 2017.
Tecno was the fastest growing smartphone brand in 2018 – it grew by 221 per cent as it expanded its offline reach. Other fast-growing brands include Honor (+183 per cent), Infinix (+146 per cent), Nokia HMD (+138 per cent) and Asus (+76 per cent).
The Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000 segment was the fastest growing segment (+53 per cent) driven by vivo, OPPO and Samsung.
‘This is the first time the feature phone market grew faster than the smartphone market. India remains the largest market in terms of global feature phone volume. India and Middle East are driving the feature phone market, capturing almost 3/4th of global feature phone sales in 2018. Reliance Jio captured 38 per cent of the feature phone segment in just over year with its compelling value proposition compared to normal 2G feature phones. Additionally, the Jio Monsoon Hungama offer focusing on upgrading 2G feature phone users, helped it to drive sales during the second half of 2018,’ added Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research.