India's smartphone shipments declined by 9% YoY to reach over 152 million units in 2022, according to Counterpoint Research.
India’s smartphone shipments declined by 9% year-on-year (YoY) to reach over 152 million units in 2022, according to the latest research from Counterpoint Technology Market Research’s Market Monitor service.
The YoY 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 ASP.
“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,” said Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh.
Research Analyst Shilpi Jain said, “Despite declining shipments, the premium smartphone market’s share kept rising in 2022 and reached 11%, 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 premiumization 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 the 9% YoY decline in shipments. Samsung led the India smartphone market revenue with 20% 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% revenue share in 2022 as compared to 65% in 2021.
Xiaomi slipped to third place in Q4 2022 but held the top spot in India’s smartphone market in 2022 with a 24% YoY 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% share. It also led the affordable premium segment (INR 30,000-INR 45,000 or ~$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 (>INR 45,000 or ~$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% share, driven by the T series and V series.
realme slipped to fourth place in 2022, with a 14% YoY decline due to higher exposure to the sub-INR 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-INR 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 >INR 15,000 segment.
OPPO maintained its fifth position in India’s smartphone market in 2022 with a 7% YoY decline. It revamped its portfolio in the budget segment to drive volumes. However, the major focus remained on the upper mid-tier (INR 20,000-INR 30,000 or ~$240-$365) as it was the fastest growing brand, registering 80% growth within this segment driven by the F series.
Transsion Group brands itel, Infinix and TECNO accounted for 12% of India’s handset market and secured the third spot in 2022. In the sub-INR 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-INR 8,000 (~97) 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% YoY in 2022. It maintained its lead in the overall premium segment (>INR 30,000 or ~$365) as well as the ultra-premium segment (>INR 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 2022. India 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% YoY in 2022 driven by the OnePlus Nord CE 2 series. It captured the second spot in the affordable premium segment with a 22% share. The Nord CE 2 Lite was the top-selling 5G model in the sub-INR 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.