According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) ‘Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker’, India shipped 161 million smartphones in 2021. This was up by 7 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y), even as supply and pandemic related challenges created disruptions during the year. 2021 started strong with pent-up demand from second half of 2020 (July- December, 2021) and positive sentiments around vaccinations but a severe second wave of covid-19 dealt a blow to the growth. Constrained supplies resulted in low inventories across channels in the second half of the year, which usually has a high demand during the festive season.
As per report, the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 (January – March, 2022) is expected to remain flat Y-o-Y amidst a low seasonal demand and a mild impact of the ongoing third wave of covid-19, which will give the brands time to replenish their inventories. The transition from 4G to 5G will continue to drive growth, though still restricted to mid and high-tier price segments.
Commenting on the report, Upasana Joshi, research manager, client devices, IDC India, said, “Consumers continue to demand better features like the camera, battery, and processors over 5G capability in the entry-level price segments. The large feature phone base will remain crucial but elusive to the smartphone market in the absence of any affordable offerings at the entry-level.”
Key highlights of 2021 included:
- With 81 million units, the online channel registered 13% YoY growth, surpassing the offline channel. This was driven by heavy marketing and initiatives like multiple sales festivals, attractive financing schemes, cashback & exchange offers, and trade-in programs. While the offline channel contracted in 2021, IDC expects offline shipments to recover some lost ground in 2022.
- MediaTek-based smartphones recorded a 54% market share, creating a bigger lead over Qualcomm with more than 85% of its smartphones below US$200. UNISOC regained some momentum reaching a 7% share, up from 2% in the previous years.
- ASPs peaked at US$190, growing by 15% annually. The share of the premium segment doubled from a year ago to 4% in 2021, growing by more than 100% annually, largely due to higher Apple shipments. The sub-US$100 was the only segment to decline YoY. IDC expects ASPs in 2022 to be high due to the rising cost of components and higher share of 5G smartphones.
Meanwhile, Navkendar Singh, research director, client devices and IPDS, IDC India, said, “Overall, supply challenges and the second wave of covid-19 severely restricted the market’s ability to achieve double-digit growth in 2021. Consumer demand is lower than expected as we entered 2022, but supply challenges are expected to ease by mid-2022, which should help in maintaining similar growth levels in 2022.”