According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, the India smartphone market exited 2022 with 144 million shipments (the lowest since 2019), with a 10 per cent decline on year-on-year (Y-o-Y). During fourth quarter (Q4) FY’22, the Indian smartphone market declined 27 per cent Y-o-Y as shipments fell to 30 million units. Despite multiple price discounts and channel schemes, high inventory levels after Diwali restricted new shipments.

Dwindling consumer demand due to high inflation remained a challenge throughout the year despite the improved supply situation. However, the average selling price (ASP) hit a record $224, rising 18 per cent Y-o-Y in 2022.

Commenting on the report, Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, said, “The entry-level segment (sub-$150) shrank to 46 per cent of the market, down from 54 per cent a year ago. The dearth of new launches in this critical mass segment was a barrier for new smartphone users, thus limiting the overall market’s growth.”

Key Highlights for 2022:

  • Shipments to online channels dropped by 6 per cent Y-o-Y, though with a record-high share of 53 per cent. The offline channel declined by 15 per cent Y-o-Y.
  • 50 million 5G smartphones were shipped during the year with an ASP of $395 in 2022, down from $431 in 2021. With more affordable 5G launches expected in 2023, 5G devices should account for around 60 per cent of shipments in 2023.
  • The share of MediaTek and Qualcomm-based smartphones dropped while UNISOC’s share doubled to 14 per cent, with significant volumes coming from Realme and Samsung in the entry-level 4G segment.
  • The mid-premium and premium price segments of $300-500 and $500+ grew 20 per cent and 55 per cent, respectively, while the sub-$300 segment declined by 15 per cent. In the premium segment of $500+, Apple maintained its lead with a 60 per cent share (iPhone 13 being the 3rd most shipped device in 2022), followed by Samsung with a 21 per cent share.
  • 201 million mobile phones were shipped in 2022, clocking a 12 per cent annual decline. Feature phone shipments stood at 57 million, a drop of 18 per cent Y-o-Y. Samsung, Xiaomi and Transsion were the leading companies in the total mobile phone market.

Q4 FY’22 smartphone vendor highlights

  • Xiaomi maintained its lead but faced high inventory during 4Q22. It had a tough year, with a lean entry-level portfolio and continued dependency on the online channel for the majority of its shipments.
  • Samsung stood at a close second with a diversified portfolio across price bands and channels: the Galaxy A series in the offline channel, the M and F series in the online channel, and the Galaxy S/Flip/Fold in the premium segment. There were price cuts after Diwali to ease inventory. Samsung continued to lead the 5G segment.
  • Vivo stood at the third position, with well-managed inventories. Despite being an offline-heavy brand, it managed a significant play in the very important online channel with aggressive shipments of its T series and iQOO brand through 2022. It regularly ensured sufficient channel partner schemes, price cuts, and stock clearance.
  • Oppo climbed to the fourth slot in 4Q22. The affordable A series accounted for the majority of volume, along with a focus on the F and Reno series. OPPO also launched its online-exclusive K series in 2022 to ensure its omnichannel presence.
  • Realme slipped to the fifth slot in 4Q22 as new shipments fell, owing to high inventory from the previous quarter. realme continued to be an online-heavy brand with the majority of volumes from its C series plus affordable 5G models towards the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Navkendar Singh, Associate Vice President, Devices Research, IDC, said, “We should expect a rather difficult and elongated recovery for the smartphone market, as worries around rising prices and excess inventories will remain a concern through at least the first half of 2023. Vendors and channel partners need to rethink their plans for their entry-level portfolios, driving 5G device affordability with attractive trade-in programs and financing schemes.”