India Now Second Largest Smartphone Consumer Beating The US, Thanks To China

India is now the second-largest smartphone market after China, the leading smartphone consumer. In 2019 alone, India shipped in about 158 million devices surpassing the United States which has been holding the position for a long time. Even as America tries to suppress the Chinese gadget and technology market, China is proving to be a fast-growing influence on other continents such as Africa and Asia.

Research shows that the fast rise in smartphone consumption in India has been impacted by Chinese smartphone manufacturers. Oppo, Realme, Vivo, and Xiaomi are some of the brands highly recognized in India with a majority of first-time smartphone owners preferring these brands owing to their economy friendly prices and usability. In 2019, the brands made 72 percent of devices shipped into the country. Chinese manufacturers have been known for their mid-tier smartphones where most smartphone users in Asia and Africa lie, at the same time these companies have mastered the skill of capturing demand of users looking to upgrade from their first smartphone.

The high ranking of Chinese based manufacturers’ devices is not a blanket achievement but it has been attributed to individual company efforts to penetrate the volatile market. For instance, Xiaomi is still the leading smartphone provider in India for the second year in a row, even beating its consumption in China. Vivo then follows at 16% in shipment last year, then Realme and Oppo at 10 % and 9% respectively.

Brands like South Korean smartphone manufacturer Samsung saw a drop in shipment as well as the rest of the foreign distributors. The Indian market is expected to grow further since 4G is being adapted progressively, and is estimated to be at 55% as a massive transition from feature phones to smartphones is seen. Chinese brands’ share hit a record of 72% for 2019 compared to 60% a year ago.

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“During 2019 we have seen all major Chinese players expanding their footprint in offline and online channels to gain market share. For example, Xiaomi, realme, and OnePlus have increased their offline points of sale, while brands like Vivo have expanded their online reach with Z and U series. 2019 also marked the fifth anniversary in India for some Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Several have seen significant growth from their first full year of operation. For example, over the past four years, Xiaomi, Vivo, and OnePlus have grown 15x, 24x, and 18x respectively. This highlights that OEMs are mature enough to capture the next wave of growth and further expand their operations in India.” Said Anshika Jain, Analyst, Counterpoint Research

Gathoni Kuria

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