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India has recorded a big rise in smartphone shipments during the first quarter of 2021, but this is likely to be reversed just as sharply during the second quarter, as the coronavirus takes a vice-like grip on the country.
The technology analyst firm Counterpoint Research said shipments increased by 23% year-on-year to reach 38 million units in the first quarter of the year.
The rise was attributed to product launches, promotions, financial schemes and pent-up demand from the previous year.
But senior research analyst Prachir Singh said there should not rejoicing over these numbers as “a second and more virulent wave of COVID-19 is currently on in the country and is likely to impact the coming quarters. The consumer demand will take a hit due to the ongoing wave and subsequent lockdowns.”
Of the first quarter, Singh said: “Continuing with its stellar run, India’s smartphone market registered a third consecutive quarter of record shipments, riding on pent-up demand. Consumer confidence also increased due to the beginning of a vaccination drive in the country.”
Brands from Chinese companies dominated the shipments in the first quarter. Research analyst Shilpi Jain said: “The Chinese brands held a 75% share in the March-ended quarter. Xiaomi led the market with a 26% share, followed by Samsung, vivo, realme and OPPO.
“Xiaomi has recently expanded its manufacturing capabilities with new EMS partners, which helped the brand maintain strong shipments during the quarter. All the major brands are focusing on new product launches to drive consumer demand.
“Samsung maintained a high number of new product launches in its Galaxy M-series, Galaxy F-series as well as the Galaxy S21 series during the quarter. Besides, realme launched its 8 series, OnePlus announced its 9 series and Xiaomi launched its Redmi Note 10 series that has started well. Brands are also focusing on promotions and financial schemes to increase consumer demand.”
The overall mobile handset market — which includes feature phones as well — grew by 19% year-on-year during the first quarter. The feature phone market saw 14% growth, driven by strong shipments of local brand JioPhone under its new model and subsequent promotions. However, itel, another local brand, was the top seller in the feature phone market with 21% market share.
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