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Omicron threat: Handset companies wary of plant, border closures

The breakout of a new Covid-19 strain, Omicron, will not have a much impact on the mobile manufacturing and its sales. However, the exports out of India to the African countries could see a negative impact due to Omicron as the first variant was reported from there. The Indian mobile market won’t see much of change, barring public movement, because this post-Diwali period is considered to remain low, always. Having said that, we need to stay vigilant to tackle any unwarranted situations.

“Goods transport won’t be impacted. And from now till Jan end the market is anyways on the lower side and only gains momentum after Chinese New Year in mid Feb. So this is anyways low activity period. If things go worse than this it will be a different thing then, which we pray shouldn’t be,” says Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst at Techarc.

Faisal further says that the Omicron virus strain will not affect much of the supply chain in the smartphone industry but it would be too early to comment. If the supply chain gets affected it will certainly hit the sales on the end consumer part but that also looks uncertain at the moment.

The Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday are already live across the world till November 30 in which people shop for electronics, household items, etc. This new mutant virus Omicron is going to affect the last two days of this annual shopping festival around Thanksgiving Day.

People in India generally prefer the Diwali period for buying new phones or other electronic gadgets because of the offers and options to choose from, and that has already passed. Some people do select the end of the year or Christmas weekend to shop but for that OEMs already have too much inventories to absorb the shock if any.

“However, we do need to see how exports from India will be affected as more than 12% of the mobile exports are to African countries. Right now that is the hotspot in terms of Omicron,” added Faisal.

But, smartphone makers do rely on the exports out of India especially to the African nations. Players like Lava, Oppo, Xiaomi, Samsung and Transsion Holdings supply smartphones and other IoT based products out of India and that could be a cause of the worry for them.

We do hope that the breakout of Omicron will not affect the smartphone industry as the lean period continues. Livemint

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