According to the latest report from Canalys, Indian smartphone shipments saw a substantial decline of 20 per cent year on year in Q1 2023. This drop comes after a modest 6 per cent decline in the final quarter of 2022. The report attributes the decline to issues with market demand and stock build-up, which have also impacted various sales channels.
Despite the decline, South Korean tech giant Samsung, managed to retain its position as the market leader, shipping around 6.3 million units in Q1 2023, representing a notable 21 per cent market share. Oppo and Vivo took the second and third spots, accounting for approximately 18 per cent market share each. Xiaomi claimed fourth place with a 16 per cent market share, while Realme secured fifth place with a 9 per cent market share.
“The Indian market faces early-year struggles but vendors keep fueling the market as they remain bullish on long-term prospects,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, Analyst at Canalys. “Just as the economic indicators toward the end of Q4 2022 clearly suggested that demand would remain sluggish in the short term, it was witnessed so in Q1 2023. Despite this challenge, investments from major brands are pouring in as they align with the government’s vision and changing consumer behaviour. They are focusing on optimizing retail, manufacturing, local sourcing, and research and development to secure their long-term position in the market.”
Chaurasia emphasized that brands must balance channel contributions in order to maintain stability and market share. Vendors with efficient channel management have proven to be more resilient to market volatility, particularly those who have nurtured mainline retail channels, even during market downturns. In Q1 2023, Samsung’s efficient fast-moving model placement in the offline space enabled it to retain its position as the market leader. Apple’s new offline stores are expected to enhance its brand experience and position. Online heavy brands have primarily driven units through e-commerce sales, leading to periodic volume surges.
He further said that 2023 will be challenging due to the slow movement of the mass-market segment.
“As disposable income gradually rises, consumers are willing to spend more on premium devices. To succeed in this segment, brands must prioritize availability, affordability and aspirational value,” says Chaurasia.
Apple and Samsung are currently driving India’s smartphone export growth, helping achieve a record-breaking export value of almost US$4 billion in Q1. Canalys expects modest growth this year, driven by organic growth drivers. However, 5G devices and other market drivers must offer compelling utility for consumers to stimulate the upgrade cycle.