After a wobble in Q2 2017, India’s smartphone market recovered quickly, with shipments growing 23% year on year in Q3 2017 to reach just over 40 million units. India has now overtaken the United States to become the world’s second largest smartphone market after China.
Samsung and Xiaomi, which shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively, accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in Q3 2017.
India is..a Chinese Market
Despite posting excellent results, the market continues to concentrate, with the top five vendors (Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo) now accounting for 75% of total shipments in India.
Interestingly, they are all Chinese companies.
Samsung shipped 9.4 million smartphones, almost 30% more than in Q3 last year. Second-placed Xiaomi increased shipments by over 290% to 9.2 million units.
Xiaomi is killing it!
“Xiaomi’s growth is a clear example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads,” said Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi. “But Xiaomi focuses on the low end. It struggles in the mid-range (devices priced between INR15,000 and INR20,000 [US$230 and US$310]), where Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are particularly strong. Nevertheless, we predict Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.”
Apple began local production in India earlier this year, and its iPhone shipments more than doubled to 900,000 units in Q3 2017 compared with Q3 2016, impressive growth in a market that is skewed toward low-end smartphones.
The GST Impact on Smartphone Sales
After a rocky start to GST, the market has shown strong signs of stability in Q3, with most of the channel adapting to the new rules on time. “The Indian economy is proving very strong in the second half of 2017, now that the twin shocks of GST and demonetization are behind it,” added Doshi. “Reduced indirect taxes have added new equity to the market, with distributors and retailers able to serve areas beyond their home regions as inter-state operations become easier. As the infrastructure matures, consolidation in distribution is inevitable.”