Apple shipped most number of smartphones in the premium segment in 2019

About 152.5 million smartphones were shipped in India in 2019 registering a "modest" 8 percent growth over last year, positioning the country as the second-largest smartphone market after China, research firm IDC said.

For 2020, IDC said the Indian smartphone market is expected to see "modest single-digit growth" in the year.

According to the IDC data, the overall mobile phone market, with annual shipments of 282.9 million units, declined 12.3 percent year-on-year in 2019 due to fewer 4G feature phones.

Xiaomi registered annual shipments of 43.6 million units in 2019, the highest-ever smartphone shipments made by any brand in a year, with a growth of 9.2 percent y-o-y and cornered 28.6 percent market share.

iPhone. Representative image.

Samsung followed in the tally with 20.3 percent share, Vivo (15.6 percent), Oppo (10.7 percent) and realme (10.6 percent).

A total of 36.9 million smartphone units were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2019, registering 5.5 per cent year-on-year growth, but a 20.8 percent sequential decline.

In the December quarter, Xiaomi registered a 15.9 percent y-o-y growth and had 29 percent share, followed by Vivo (18.8 percent), Samsung (15.5 percent), Oppo (13 percent) and realme (12.8 percent).

"This is an extremely exhilarating moment for us at Xiaomi India, as we become the leader in the overall mobile phone market across smartphones and feature phones. It has helped us come closer to our mission of providing innovation for all, and Q4 witnessed several people adopting the smartphone," Xiaomi Vice-President and India Managing Director Manu Jain said.

He added that the company is committed to gaining users'' sustained trust and appreciation through constant innovation across products, business models and infrastructure.

"IDC expects India''s smartphone market to see modest single-digit growth in 2020 as well," IDC India Research Director (Client Devices and IPDS) Navkendar Singh said.

He added that as organic growth becomes challenging with increasing replacement cycles, it is imperative for the smartphone ecosystem to really put its energy and focus on enabling migration of the massive feature phone user base in India.

This needs to be done in addition to continuing to offer compelling propositions at the mid-premium segment to boost faster upgrades, he said.

"During the year, we will see launches with newer concepts like under-display cameras, gaming-centric features, and higher refresh rate screens clubbed with efforts by the brands to open new revenue areas like OS monetisation and financing services etc," he added.

IDC said the year 2019 also witnessed longer inventory cycles in the offline channel as online exclusive models held back offline sales, resulting in a meager 1.6 percent annual growth in the offline channel.

"The online growth momentum continued through the year with a record share of 41.7 percent in 2019, growing by 18.4 percent y-o-y annually due to deep discounts, cashback offers, buyback/exchange schemes, and complete protection offers clubbed with attractive financing schemes like no-cost EMIs across major model line-ups and brands," IDC India Associate Research Manager (Client Devices) Upasana Joshi said.

In 2019, the average selling prices (ASPs) of smartphones rose 2.8 percent y-o-y to USD 163 (about Rs 11,600). The sub-USD 200 segment still accounted for 79 percent of the market.

The mid-range segment of USD 200-500 accounted for the strongest annual growth of 55.2 percent and accounted for 19.3 percent of the overall smartphone market.

The mid-premium (USD 300-500) segment was led by Vivo with 28 percent share, followed by OnePlus at 20.2 percent.

In the premium (USD 500 and above) segment, Apple surpassed Samsung for the leadership position with a share of 47.4 percent in 2019, driven by aggressive price drops on previous-generation models, offers, strong e-tailer sales momentum, and a lower iPhone 11 launch price compared to the iPhone XR (review), IDC said.

The feature phone segment continued to decline y-o-y by 21.1 percent with shipments of 30.1 million units in the fourth quarter.

However, the Diwali offer (Rs 699) launched by Reliance Jio in the festive month of October helped clear off existing channel inventories of 4G-enabled Jio Phones, IDC said.

Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd which publishes Firstpost

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