India’s smartphone market got off to a good start with a total shipment of 32.1 million units in 1Q19 (2019Q1), maintaining a healthy 7.1 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth. High channel inventory from the previous quarter resulted in a sequential decline of 8.4 percent, estimates IDC. Large shipments in the festival quarters of 3Q18 and 4Q18 led to high channel inventory, leading to flat YoY growth in offline channels in 1Q19. But new products still arrived in Samsung’s A-series and online-heavy vendors like Xiaomi and Realme expanded to offline counters. Average selling prices grew by 3.3 percent YoY to USD 161. This can be attributed to the growth in the USD 300–500 segment, accounting for 6 percent of the overall smartphone market in 1Q19. This segment also outgrew all other price bands on the back of newly launched vivo V15 Pro. The feature phone market, which still accounts for half of the total mobile phone shipments, registered 32.3 million-unit shipments in 1Q19, with a sharp decline of 42.4 percent YoY. There was a sharp drop in 4G-enabled feature phones, declining by more than 50 percent YoY due to channel inventory from previous quarters. There was also a sequential dip in 2G/2.5G feature phones.
Xiaomi maintained its leadership position, growing YoY by 8.1 percent in 1Q19. Xiaomi also continued to dominate the online channel with 48.6 percent share in 1Q19. Samsung continued in the second position with a YoY decline of 4.8 percent in 1Q19. The vendor revamped its product strategy by launching its online-exclusive M-series and its offline-exclusive A-series to counter the Chinese vendors. Offline channels are upbeat about the vendor’s schemes and support as it phases out its old J-series. Vivo continued in third position as its shipments doubled YoY in 1Q19, driven primarily by its new flagship V15 Pro and affordable Y91. The vendor continues to invest heavily in its marketing initiatives as the IPL season started in 2Q19 with attractive channel margins and schemes. OPPO recaptured its 4th position with YoY growth of 9.7 percent in 1Q19, backed by new models such as the K1 (the first-ever online-exclusive model for India) and the F11/Pro series, as well as its ongoing affordable A-series. Realme continued to feature in the top five vendors list, despite dropping to the fifth position in 1Q19. Its newly launched Realme-3 series produced the highest shipments for the vendor. Originally launched as an online-focused brand, Realme realized the importance of an omnichannel presence with its quick expansion to offline channels; now almost one out of three Realme phones is sold offline.