Smartphone sales in India grew five per cent to an all-time high of 44 million units in the September quarter, driven by strong shipments by handset vendors ahead of the festive season, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.
In the reported quarter, smartphone segment contributed to half of the total handset market (88 million) with brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo and OPPO recording their individual highest-ever shipments in a single quarter, it said. The shipments grew 24 per cent on sequential basis.
The report said Micromax made a comeback among the top five brands for the first time in two years on the back of a recent order it bagged from Chhattisgarh government along with Reliance Jio.
However, its shipments are likely to decline following completion of the order, the report said.
“Even though the quarter started modestly, smartphone shipments picked up and reached an all-time record due to strong sell-in by brands in August and September,” Counterpoint Research Analyst Anshika Jain said.
She added that key brands kicked off their festive campaigns early this year by launching new models as early as August, which gave them ample time to prepare and align with festive season sales across online channels.
“The record shipments happened at a time when the rupee has hit a record low against the US dollar. This is already impacting supply chains and product planning for the brands,” she said.
Any inventory accumulation after the festive season will put brands under pressure as they may need to pass on the resulting price hikes to consumers, Jain noted adding that this festive season is “not only crucial for brands to target new customers but also navigate the external headwinds”.
The highest volume growth, during the reported quarter, was seen in the mid-tier due to consumers steadily migrating toward higher price points. The $150-250 segment contributed to almost one-third of the volume as many new products are launching at this level, the report said.
OnePlus 6 shipments in premium segment remained strong as it launched multiple offers during the quarter, helping it retain its number one spot in the said category.