On the one side, there was pandemic and economic recession. On the other, the work from home and e-learning norms triggered fresh demand for smartphones.
In the end, pandemic may have been the winner as it had a negative impact on the sale of smartphones in India. But only just. For, India’s smartphone shipments declined by a modest 4% on its year-on-year numbers.
Overall, it reached over 150 million units in 2020, according to a research report from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.
India’s mobile handset market declined 9% YoY in 2020 due to a decline in feature phone shipments. The feature phone market registered a 20% YoY decline in 2020 as consumers in this segment were the worst hit by the lockdowns.
The Indian smartphone market grew 19% YoY in Q4 2020 as the festive season offers got extended.
In a year of anti-Chinese sentiments in India, Chinese brands held75% market share.
The performance of various brands
Xiaomi recaptured the top spot in Q4 2020 with 13% YoY growth. Strong demand for the Redmi 9 and Redmi Note 9 series, and aggressive offers during the festive season led to a strong quarter for Xiaomi.
Samsung eased to the second slot in Q4 2020 but exhibited a strong 30% YoY growth.
Vivo was the top offline player in 2020. However, it declined 13% YoY due to high exposure to the offline market, which was impacted by the pandemic.
Realme grew 22% in 2020 and crossed the 20 million units mark for the first time. It’s the highest growth rate among the top 5.
Oppo shipments grew 11% YoY in 2020 while remaining flat in Q4 2020, driven by the demand for its recently launched A12 and A53 models.
Poco crossed 5 million smartphone units for the first time in Q4 2020 driven by its M2, M2 Pro and C3 models.
Transsion Group brands (Itel, Infinix and Tecno) registered their highest-ever shipments in a single quarter at over 9 million units. Transsion brands remained strong in Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities, and rural India to capture the third position in the overall handset market.
OnePlus sees 200% YoY growth in Q4
Apple captured the sixth spot in Q4 2020 with 171% YoY growth in Q4 and 93% YoY growth in 2020.
OnePlus saw 200% YoY growth in Q4 2020 driven by its mid-range Nord series and the newly launched 8T series.
In 2020, 5G smartphone shipments crossed 4 million units in India. These shipments were driven by two brands – OnePlus, the only brand with a 100% 5G portfolio, and Apple, which launched the iPhone 12 series with 5G connectivity.
5G smartphone shipments are expected to increase by more than nine times to reach 38 million units in 2021.