The national lockdown enforced by the government in March to control the Covid pandemic has shrunk the smartphone market by nearly half. Q2 2020 recorded a 48 per cent decline in smartphone shipments to 17.3 million units, according to market analyst firm Canalys. Production hurdles along with import delays apart from prohibition for online and offline retailers to sell smartphones were the challenges faced by vendors leading to current fall. The decline in Q2 followed the 12 per cent growth in shipments in Q1 2020 to 33.5 million units even as Canalys had expected the shipments to plunge in Q2 due to the lockdown.
However, with Chinese brand Xiaomi retaining the top spot, there wasn’t a major change in the pecking order. Vivo with 21.3 per cent market share and Samsung having 16.8 per cent share were the other top brands following Xiaomi’s 30.9 per cent share. However, Realme with 1.7 per cent market share slipped to fourth position in Q2 from third in Q1 replaced by Oppo with 2.2 per cent share. The decline in shipments for these brands was also quite significant. While Xiaomi’s shipment volume dropped from 10.3 million in Q1, 2020, to 5.3 million in Q2, Vivo’s decline to 3.7 million units from 6.7 million. Similarly, Samsung, Realme, and Oppo witnessed decline from 6.3 million to 2.9 million, 3.9 million to 1.7 million, and 3.5 million to 2.2 million respectively.
“While vendors witnessed a crest in sales as soon as markets opened, production facilities struggled with staffing shortages on top of new regulations around manufacturing, resulting in lower production output,” said Canalys Analyst Madhumita Chaudhary.
Chinese smartphone players are already facing the backlash from customers in India due to the border clash between the armed forces of India and China even as the government has started to aggressively pitch for Indian made products and ‘vocal for local’ campaign. “There has been public anger directed towards China. The combinations of this and the recently announced ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-sufficient) initiatives by the government have pushed Chinese smartphone vendors into the eye of the public storm,” said Madhumita. Canalys estimated that that more than 96 per cent of smartphones, which were sold in 2019 in India, were made/assembled in India itself.
The report said that Apple saw the least impacted of the lockdown among top 10 vendors as its shipments decline just 20 per cent year-on-year to a little over 2.5 lakh in Q2 2020. Apple is looking to expand production in India and reportedly pushing its partners Foxconn and Wistron to boost investments in the country.