Xiaomi, which came in the first place, grew by 9% to ship 13.1 million units, followed by Korean handset maker Samsung that snatched the second position from Vivo and shipped 10.7 million units, up by 7%. Samsung’s aggressive product portfolio and pricing strategy helped it climb up the chart.
Vivo grew 19% to ship 8.8 million units and came in at third place, followed by Realme with 8.7 million shipped units, and Oppo with 6.1 million units shipped.
“Smartphone vendors are definitely bullish,” said Canalys Analyst, Adwait Mardikar. “The government, slowly but surely reducing restrictions on movement after a three-month lockdown, has created the perfect atmosphere for sustained growth.”
Though almost all vendors have posted positive shipment growth the ‘true winners’ are the online channels, who have stockpiled a huge inventory of devices ahead of the festive season, Mardikar noted.
“Ongoing sales at Amazon and Flipkart are a clear indication that despite the economic downturn, India’s penchant for a good smartphone, and a good bargain, remains intact,” he said.
“Ongoing tension between India and China has been a hot topic in the past few months, but we have yet to see a significant impact on purchase decisions of mass-market customers,” said Canalys Research Analyst, Varun Kannan.
Collectively, Chinese vendors accounted for 74% of total smartphone shipments in Q3, which has grown 76% year-over-year.
“However, the tensions have caused Chinese smartphone brands to act more conservatively in recent months, reducing their marketing spend, and carefully trying to project the image that they are important contributors to, and stakeholders in, the economic future of India,” Kannan said. Apple regained momentum in India in Q3, with double-digit growth to nearly 800 thousand units.
“Apple is finally paying attention to India,” said Canalys Research Director, Rushabh Doshi.
Apple, that recently launched its direct online store, has amped up its go-to-market strategy such as device trade-ins to provide purchase incentives, or bundling AirPods with iPhones to make them an attractive proposition, said Doshi. “However, its new iPhone 12 family will be a tough sell in India this year, as network operators do not yet have the infrastructure for mass market 5G deployment, erasing a key feature of the devices. Not to forget, Apple’s pricing strategy for its new iPhones in India needs serious consideration.”
The lockdown forced most of working India to refrain from big-ticket spending, increasing the dispensable income. On the other hand, unemployment has risen, affecting the lowest rungs of society the most, and consequently affecting the long-term outlook of India’s smartphone market, Mardikar said.
“Vendors in it for the long run must acknowledge their responsibility in uplifting the country, and helping India emerge out of COVID-19 as swiftly as possible,” Mardikar said.