According to the IDC India (International Data Corporation), the smartphone companies shipped a total of 142.3 million units in India in 2018 (Annual), resulting in a healthy 14.5% growth. If you are wondering, 2017 shipment stood at 124.3 million units.

Furthermore, the year on year growth pertaining to the December quarter was 19.5 percent as the volume jumped from 30.3 million units to 36.3 million units. However, the shipment volume of this quarter declined by 15.1 percent compared to the July-September 2018 period, due to high channel inventory.

IDC attributes this growth to the galore of online exclusive launches, festival sale days, and bulk shipments, coupled with a plethora of promotional offers and schemes. Interestingly, each year these shopping days are increasing in frequency and duration.

IDC India Associate Research Manager (Client Devices) Upasana Joshi affirms this-“Amongst the big highlights of 2018 were the online-focused brands that drove the share of the online channel to an (annual) all-time high of 38.4 percent in 2018 and a whopping 42.2 percent in Q4 2018.”

She further added that a slew of discounts, various financing options, cashback offers and buyback schemes – all contributed to this result.

While the Online market saw a bullish presence, the story was rather dull on the ground, i.e Brick and Motor outlets. It saw a moderate 6.7 percent annual growth in 2018 and growing 5 percent sequentially in Q4 2018.

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But the offline picture hasn’t turned grim as it still remains the largest channel for mobile phone distribution in India and is critical for the long-term success for any brand in India. “The offline channel was unable to keep pace with the deep discounts and go-to-market initiatives from the e-tailers almost throughout the year,” IDC adds.

IDC Associate Research Director (client devices and IPDS), Navkendar Singh highlighted the shift of online players to the offline market, due to the aforementioned reason.

Indian Smartphone Market 2018: Top Winners

Xiaomi held the top spot in the fourth quarter and full year (28.9 percent share for both time periods), followed by Samsung with an 18.7 percent share in December quarter and 22.4 percent share annually. Vivo impresses with the third place having a 9.7percentt share in the fourth quarter and 10 percent share for the full year.

Recent developments have put shackles on these e-retail giants from exclusive partnerships with brands. Now, how this impact the future market performance is yet to be seen.

The average selling price for 2018 remained even at USD 158, with high shipments in the budget series of USD 100-200 contributed more than half of the smartphone market in India.

“The premium end of the market (above USD 500) outgrew all other price segments in 2018 with 43.9 percent YoY growth, although it still constitutes a meager 3 percent share of the overall smartphone market,” Joshi stated.

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As we have already shared in a recent post, Oneplus is crowned as the undisputed leader in the USD 500-700 segment, thanks to the OnePlus 6 and the newly-launched OnePlus 6T. One other intriguing thing is the Realme’s higher position over OPPO.

The feature phone market, with  56.0% of the market size saw 181.3 million-unit shipments in 2018, and 10.6% YoY growth. Jio Phone helmed the shipments through the year, with 36.1% of overall feature phone shipments. The 2G market dipped by 23.0% YoY in 2018 with an uprise of 4G enabled feature handsets.


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