According to a report by Canalys, smartphone shipments in India fell by 20 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023. 

As per the report, Samsung contributed to 21 per cent of the market share with 6.3 million units in shipment. Oppo shot to second position after Samsung with 18 per cent market share and 5.5 million shipments. Vivo became the third largest seller in the Indian smartphone market with 5.4 million units and 18 per cent market share as Xiaomi accounted to 16 per cent market share and 5 million shipments. 

The demand was predicted to be sluggish in the short term after witnessing it in Q1 2023. Brands have started focusing on optimising retail, manufacturing, local sourcing and research and development (R&D) to secure their position in the long-term. Shipments of all brands fell in Q1, with the exception of Oppo. Realme’s shipment declined the fastest with 51 per cent year-over-year in Q1, followed by Xiaomi and Samsung at 38 per cent and 11 per cent respectively. The report suggested that the brands must balance channel contributions to keep business operations stable and maintain share. 

Commenting on the report, Sanyam Chaurasia, analyst, Canalys, “The Indian market faces early-year struggles but vendors keep fueling the market as they remain bullish on long-term prospects. Just as the economic indicators toward the end of Q4 2022 clearly suggested that demand would remain sluggish in the short term, it was witnessed so in Q1 2023. Despite this challenge, investments from major brands are pouring in as they align with the government’s vision and changing consumer behavior. They are focusing on optimsing retail, manufacturing, local sourcing, and R&D to secure their long-term position in the market. Q1 2023 showcased that brands must balance channel contributions to keep business operations stable and maintain share. Vendors with efficient channel management have proven to be more resilient to market volatility. Post-pandemic, vendors who have nurtured mainline retail channels, have demonstrated stability even during market downturns. Increasing contributions from high-price-band models have encouraged vendors to focus on strengthening their offline channels. Samsung has been efficient with its fast-moving model placement in the offline space. For this quarter, it was the new 5G-capable A-series. Apple’s new offline stores staffed by expert employees will further enhance its brand experience and position. While online heavy brands have driven units primarily through e-commerce sales, leading to periodic volume surges.”

Chaurasia added, “2023 will be challenging as the mass-market segment is still moving slowly. Nonetheless, the premium segment is poised for growth, boosting the average selling price (ASP) growth of the overall market. As disposable income gradually rises, consumers are willing to spend more on premium devices. To succeed in this segment, brands must prioritise availability, affordability and aspirational value. Going forward, brands should also emphasise export strategy to align with the government’s initiatives. At present, India’s smartphone export growth is primarily driven by Apple and Samsung, helping achieve a record-breaking export value of almost $4 billion in Q1. Canalys expects modest growth this year, driven by organic growth drivers. However, to stimulate the upgrade cycle, 5G devices and other market drivers must offer compelling utility for consumers.”