Samsung lost ground in India as Realme, OPPO, and Vivo grew during Q1 2020

Despite the fact that Samsung lost its spot as the second most shipped smartphone brand in India to Chinese OEM Vivo in Q4 2019, the company saw significant growth in market share towards the end of last year. This year, however, things seem to have taken a turn for the worse for Samsung, as a recent report from Counterpoint Research reveals that the company is losing ground to its Chinese competitors Realme, OPPO, and Vivo.

As reported by ET Telecom, Samsung’s smartphone shipments in the sub ₹10,000 segment declined 84% on year and the company’s overall smartphone shipment market share declined from 24% in Q1 2019 to just 16% in Q1 2020. Even though several OEMs have suspended smartphone production in the country due to COVID-19, Vivo, Realme, and OPPO saw significant growth in market share in Q1 2020. Vivo managed to retain the second spot and saw an overall growth from 12% market share in Q1 2019 to 17% in Q1 2020. Similarly, Realme and OPPO also saw remarkable growth, with Realme going from 7% market share in the first quarter last year to 14% this year and OPPO managing to secure 12% market share, up from 7% last year, with an 83% growth in shipments overall.

It isn’t all bad news for Samsung however, as the company once again retained the top spot in the premium (₹30,000 and above) smartphone segment, surpassing OnePlus in the process. Xiaomi maintained its lead in the Indian market, posting a 6% YoY growth in Q1 2020 to reach its highest ever market share (30%) since Q1 2018. Overall, smartphone shipments in India grew a modest 4% YoY, reaching just over 31 million units in Q1 2020. The decline in shipments was directly attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak, which led to a steep annual decline in March 2020 (-19%). Additionally, the report reveals that POCO, which launched as an independent brand earlier this year, managed to capture a 2% market share in just a month of operations and secured a spot in the top five brands in the ₹15-20,000 segment.
In a statement regarding the effect of the ongoing pandemic on the Indian smartphone market, Counterpoint’s Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh said, “The COVID-19 effect on India was relatively mild until mid-March. However, economic activities declined as people save money in the expectation of an extended period of uncertainty and an almost complete lockdown…As entry-level smartphone consumers will be the worst-hit by the lockdown, the demand for the entry-level smartphones will decline in the near-term. We believe demand will shift to the second part of the year. Even if the situation stabilizes by mid-year, people may hold-off purchasing until the festive season.” The report further reveals that the agency is estimating a 10% decline in overall smartphone shipments for the full calendar year.

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