According to the latest research by Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service, India’s smartphone shipments declined 9 per cent on year-on-year (Y-o-Y) to reach over 152 million units in 2022. The Y-o-Y decline, which is the second ever in India’s smartphone market, can be attributed to the decline in entry-level and budget segments, which faced supply constraints at the beginning of the year and then witnessed lower demand throughout the year. However, the premium segment continued to rise and captured a double-digit share for the first time, leading to growth in retail average selling price (ASP).

Commenting on the market dynamics, Prachir Singh, Senior Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research, said, “Consumer demand started declining from the second quarter when the global economy was crippled by multiple macroeconomic issues like all-time high inflation, rising unemployment and geopolitical conflicts, affecting India’s economy as well. Inventory build-up across channels after the second quarter led to lower-than-expected shipments throughout the second half of the year. We believe that the inventory and demand situation will continue to affect the market in the first half of 2023 before improving in the latter half driven by the festive season and upgrades to 5G devices.”

Meanwhile, Shilpi Jain, Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research, said, “Despite declining shipments, the premium smartphone market’s share kept rising in 2022 and reached 11 per cent, the highest ever. This paradoxical trend implies that India’s smartphone market is moving from being volume-driven to value-driven. While entry-tier and budget segments were most affected, the premium segment remained immune and showed double-digit growth. OEMs’ increased focus, consumers upgrading for premium features and, most importantly, availability of various financing schemes like ‘No-cost EMI’, ‘Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)’ and ‘Samsung finance+’ boosted this premiumisation trend. We believe the momentum for the premium segment will continue in 2023 as well owing to OEMs’ focus and faster consumer upgrades.”

Overall, India smartphone market revenue remained flat despite 9 per cent Y-o-Y decline in shipments. Samsung led the India smartphone market revenue with 20 per cent share driven by its premium smartphone models, especially the Galaxy S22 series. Samsung increased its share in the premium segment and re-captured second position. Apple rose from the fourth position in 2021 in revenue share and captured the second position in 2022. iPhone 13 captured the top smartphone model spot in 2022. China brands saw a decline in value share cumulatively, capturing 60 per cent revenue share in 2022 as compared to 65 per cent in 2021.

Market Summary

  • Xiaomi slipped to third place in fourth quarter (Q4) 2022 but held the top spot in India’s smartphone market in 2022 with a 24 per cent Y-o-Y decline. 2022 was a tough year for Xiaomi as it faced legal complications, component shortages and intense competition. Inventory build-up in online channels during the festive season further slowed its shipments in Q4 2022.
  • Though Samsung held the second spot in 2022, it emerged as the leading brand in Q4 2022. It was the only smartphone brand among the top five which did not decline and remained flat. Samsung also became the top 5G smartphone brand in 2022 with a 21 per cent share. It also led the affordable premium segment (Rs 30,000 – Rs 45,000 or approximately $365-$550) in 2022 driven by the revamping of the A series and attractive promotional offers during the festive season. It was also the fastest growing brand in the ultra-premium segment (over Rs 45,000 or approximately $550).
  • Vivo secured second place in Q4 2022 and managed to take third place in 2022. It also captured the third spot in 2022 in terms of shipment value share. A strong focus on the offline market propelled its growth in Q4 2022. Affordable pricing strategies also helped vivo to expand its consumer base, while its subsidiary brand IQOO strengthened its hold in the online market. It also held the second spot in 5G smartphone shipments in 2022 with a 17 per cent share, driven by the T series and V series.
  • Realme slipped to fourth place in 2022, with a 14 per cent Y-o-Y decline due to higher exposure to the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, where demand was most affected. Many factors hampered Realme’s growth in 2022, such as inventory build-up, unfavorable market conditions in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment, and economic headwinds. However, the brand is now focusing on mid-tier and 5G as it launched its number series towards the end of the year with all 5G SKUs in the over Rs 15,000 segment.
  • Oppo maintained its fifth position in India’s smartphone market in 2022 with a 7 per cent Y-o-Y decline. It revamped its portfolio in the budget segment to drive volumes. However, the major focus remained on the upper mid-tier (Rs 20,000 – Rs 30,000 or approximately $240-$365) as it was the fastest growing brand, registering 80 per cent growth within this segment driven by the F series.
  • Transsion Group brands itel, Infinix and TECNO accounted for 12 per cent of India’s handset market and secured the third spot in 2022. In the sub-Rs 6,000 ($73) segment, itel was the best-selling brand driven by the A27 and A23 Pro sales. itel also led India’s feature phone market in 2022. TECNO took third place in the sub Rs 8,000 segment driven by the Spark Go 2022 and Pop 5 LTE sales. Infinix and TECNO are now focusing on higher price segments as they entered the premium segment towards the year-end.
  • Apple grew 16 per cent Y-o-Y in 2022. It maintained its lead in the overall premium segment (over Rs 30,000 or $365) as well as the ultra-premium segment (over Rs 45,000 or $550). The iPhone 13 became the top-selling model in 2022 in the overall Indian smartphone market. Apple also led the India smartphone market in terms of shipment value in Q4 2022India has become a strategic market for Apple. Increasing ‘Make in India’ capabilities for both local consumption and exports, expanding offline share through LFRs and aggressive promotions during the festive season accelerated Apple’s growth in India.
  • OnePlus grew 50 per cent Y-o-Y in 2022 driven by the OnePlus Nord CE 2 series. It captured the second spot in the affordable premium segment with a 22 per cent share. The Nord CE 2 Lite was the top-selling 5G model in the sub Rs 20,000 ($240) segment in 2022. OnePlus focused on diversifying and expanding its product portfolio across different price points and increasing its offline presence to drive sales.