Counterpoint: Samsung reclaims top spot in India as country sees record smartphone shipments

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Smartphone makers shipped a record-setting 53 million units in India this quarter, reports Counterpoint Research. This is a growth of 9% year over year (YoY). “The Indian smartphone market is on a recovery path as the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed,” said Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh. Still, most people prefer to shop online.

Xiaomi pipped Samsung to become the top brand in India in 2018, but now the Korean company has reclaimed first place. Samsung shipments grew 32% compared to Q3 last year, surpassing even pre-COVID levels. The company has been the quickest to recover from the market downturn, with online distribution playing a major role.

Former leader Xiaomi fell 4% year over year. Manufacturing constraints are partly to blame for the decline, but the analysts believe that the strong demand for the Redmi 9 and Redmi Note 9 series will help the company bounce back up next quarter.

Counterpoint: Samsung reclaims top spot in India as country sees record smartphone shipments

Note – Xiaomi’s numbers include the Poco brand, which crossed the 1 million smartphones shipped for the first time in Q3, thanks the M2, M2 Pro and X3.

vivo is maintaining third place as strong demand for Y-series phones delivered a 4% increase in shipments. Rival Realme also saw a 4% increase with a focus on budget phones (C-series), but also a strong performance in the mid-range segment, where the company saw a 52% YoY boost in shipments thanks to phones in the Realme 6 and 7 family.

Oppo cinched fifth place, its shipments are up 30% YoY. OnePlus remains the top brand in what Counterpoint calls the “affordable premium” segment (INR 30-45,000) thanks to the OnePlus 8. Meanwhile, the OnePlus Nord was the best-selling model in its segment (INR 20-30,000).

Counterpoint: Samsung reclaims top spot in India as country sees record smartphone shipments

Still, Apple edged out OnePlus in the INR 30,000+ segment and this is just with iPhone SE (2020) and 11 sales. The analysts believe that the iPhone 12 models will help Apple extend its lead.

The feature market saw a 5% bump YoY, led by Itel, followed by Samsung and Lava. Itel’s parent company, the Transsion Group, owns the Itel, Infinix and Tecno brands, which saw a combined increase of 73% YoY and are focused on the budget segment. Itel was the top smartphone brand in the sub INR 4,000 segment and it is the top feature phone brand as well.

Starting in Q4, a 10% Basic Customs Duty will be imposed on display modules and touch panels. This will impact imported phones (which make up the majority of shipments in India), but Counterpoint’s analysts believe will boost local manufacturing.

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