India, the second-largest smartphone market, fell by 48% in smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2020. While some other markets witnessed growth during the COVID-19 pandemic, the smartphone market faced a severe decline in sales. Around 17.3 million units were shipped until Q2, compared to 33 million units sold in the same period the year before.
The analyst firm, Canalys, reported a 13% decline in shipments during the first quarter. However, it was until now that the smartphone market witnessed even more ruination, as Canalys confirmed that the Indian smartphone market shrunk by nearly 50% in Q2 2020.
In report, Canalys said smartphone vendors faced a “diabolical situation”, dealing with both low supply due to a complete halt in production and diminished demand, as online and offline retailers were prohibited from selling smartphones.
Xiaomi grabbed the first position, shipping 5.3 million smartphone units. In comparison, Vivo (3.7 million) and Samsung (2.9 million) maintained second and third positions with their smartphone shipments. All of these companies saw negative growth in annual sales with Xiaomi, Samsung seeing a -50% and -60% growth in smartphone shipments. Apple was the least affected as it saw a decline of only 20% in its sales.
As local production suffered through the early stages of second quarter, vendors like Xiaomi and Oppo imported smartphones to meet pent-up demand.
“It’s been a rocky road to recovery for the smartphone market in India,” said Canalys Analyst Madhumita Chaudhary.
India is also facing floods in eastern parts and standoff against China on the northern borders. In the last few months, anti-China sentiments grew amongst countrymen giving rise to anger against Chinese products. Chinese brands are trying to market their products as “India-first” or “made in India” to counter the anti-China sentiments. However, the reports contradicted with the anti-China campaigns, as Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and Realme saw minimal hits in their shipments because alternatives such Samsung, Nokia, or even Apple are hardly price-competitive.
“The transition to 5G is the next big opportunity, and Jio’s announcement of readiness to deploy 5G, as soon as spectrum is made available, has provided a ray of hope to most vendors who have been beaten by the current pandemic,” added Chaudhary.