Smartphone shipments in India fell 48 per cent in June quarter this year to 17.3 million units as the country faced an unprecedented shutdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, research firm Canalys said.
In a report, Canalys said smartphone vendors faced a “diabolical situation”, dealing with both low supply due to a complete halt in production and diminished demand, as online and offline retailers were prohibited from selling smartphones.
As local production suffered through the early stages of the second quarter, vendors like Xiaomi and Oppo imported smartphones to meet pent-up demand, it added.
“It’s been a rocky road to recovery for the smartphone market in India. While vendors witnessed a crest in sales as soon as markets opened, production facilities struggled with staffing shortages on top of new regulations around manufacturing, resulting in lower production output,” Canalys Analyst Madhumita Chaudhary said.
Chaudhary added that the fluidity of the lockdown situation across India has had a deep-rooted effect on vendors’ go-to-market strategies.
Apple was the least impacted among the top-10 vendors as shipments fell just 20 per cent year-on-year to just over 2,50,000 in the second quarter of 2020, Canalys said.
The vendor has recently announced its plans to diversify its supply chain and is pushing its major partners Foxconn and Wistron to increase its investments in India, it added.
Xiaomi led the market with 30.9 per cent market share (5.3 million units), followed by Vivo (3.7 million units and 21.3 per cent share), Samsung (2.9 million units and 16.8 per cent share), Oppo (2.2 million units and 12.9 per cent share) and Realme (1.7 million units and 10 per cent share).
Canalys estimated that over 96 per cent of all smartphones sold in India in 2019 were manufactured/assembled locally.
“Vendors are driving the message of ‘Made in India’ to consumers and are eager to position their brand as ‘India-first’. Despite the sentiment, the effect on Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme is likely to be minimal, as alternatives by Samsung, Nokia, or even Apple are hardly price-competitive,” Canalys Research Analyst Adwait Mardikar said.