India’s Q1 2018 smartphone market reaches 30 mn

India’s Q1 2018 smartphone market saw a shipment of 30 million units in 2018 Q1, making it the strongest start to a year and maintaining a healthy year on year growth of 11 per cent.

Xiaomi maintained its lead in the market for second quarter in a row with further expansion in the offline channel and popularity of its models such as Redmi 5A and Redmi Note 5. Companies like Honor, iVOOMi and Tenor also used the online channel to expand their share in the market. This led to share growth of the online channel within smartphone market from to 34.2 per cent in Q4 2017 to 36 per cent in Q1 2018. Xiaomi increased its share of total eTailer shipments from 32% a year ago to 53% in Q1 2018.

“Xiaomi is in a unique position with a diversified channel approach and strong demand in each of the channels. Huawei’s Honor 9 Lite also made into the top 5 online models in its debut quarter Q1 2018,” says Jaipal Singh, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.

On the offline front, Transsion continued to drive growth through its brands itel and Tecno by expanding aggressively to smaller towns and cities by focusing on channel management and after sales service.

Commenting on local manufacturing of smartphones, Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India said, “The recent import duty hike on PCBs, camera modules and connectors by the Indian government, definitely puts cost pressure on the smartphone companies, till such time that they set up lines for CKD type of manufacturing to reduce this impact. This will increase the challenges for smaller companies even more.”

The 4G feature phone market continued to grow at more than 50 percent quarter-on-quarter, driven primarily by Jio Phone. The operator disrupted the market by introducing aggressively priced data plans at Rs. 49 in the initial weeks of the quarter acting as catalyst for growth.

Xiaomi continued to lead the smartphone market in the Q1 2018 by doubling its volume year on year. Also, its continuous efforts to expand offline footprint has helped get visibility for the brand, thus ensuring availability in more places. In line with the duty hike on populated PCBs, Xiaomi announced its big move towards local manufacturing by setting up its first SMT (Surface Mount Technology) facility in Tamil Nadu in April 2018.

Samsung remained at the 2nd spot in smartphone ranking with flat annual growth in Q1 2018. Samsung’s two pronged approach with the focus on low-to-mid range J series and the latest flagships Galaxy S9 series along with Galaxy S8 series and Note 8 in the premium segment drove shipments for the vendor.

OPPO climbed to 3rd position from 5th in the last quarter. While it launched F7 in later half of Q1 2018, bulk of its shipments came from mid-ranged A series with upgraded variants in 2018. The smartphone maker is also expected to launch its new online exclusive series under the brand ‘Realme’.

Vivo slipped to 4th position as its shipments declined by 29.4 percent year-over-year in Q1 2018. However, the brand grew by 2.1 per cent as compared to previous quarter. The Y series of vivo continued to generate close to 70 per cent demand.

Transsion made its debut in the Top 5 with more than threefold annual growth in shipments in Q1 2018. The China based group has four brands under its umbrella – namely itel, Tecno, Infinix and Spice. With its primary focus on offline channels, itel and Tecno branded phones are doing well in the highly price sensitive India market.