Smartphone makers shipped about 32.4 million devices in India between April and June, according to research firm Canalys.
That was about 13% fewer handsets shipped compared with the previous three months. A devastating second wave of Covid-19 in India between February and May prompted regional lockdowns and created economic disruption that ultimately stifled smartphone demand.
“Smartphone vendors in India had assumed Covid-19 would not return, and several planned to invest in infrastructure for branded stores and partnerships with third-party offline channels,” Sanyam Chaurasia, an analyst at Canalys, said in a statement. “But once again they were quickly compelled to pivot to an online strategy.”
On a yearly basis, smartphone shipments jumped 87% as India was under a strict national lockdown for most of the April-June period last year.
“But the second half will not see a surge in pent-up demand like last year. The threat of a third wave still looms in India, but as citizen behavior and industrial operations continue to adapt to pandemic conditions, its impact should be minimal,” Chaurasia said.
Xiaomi remained on top, holding 29% share in one of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone markets, according to Canalys. The Chinese smartphone maker, which recently overtook Apple to become second globally, shipped 9.5 million devices in India.
Samsung hung on to second place with a 17% share of the Indian market. It shipped 5.5 million devices between April and June, barely edging out Vivo’s 5.4 million units.
Vivo, Realme and Oppo rounded up the top five, with more than 14 million devices shipped in total, as Chinese vendors maintained their dominance of the Indian smartphone market.
According to Canalys, the industry began to show signs of life again towards the end of the second quarter, when India’s vigorous vaccine push in key areas boosted consumer confidence.
The research group forecasts a recovery as businesses ramp up their promotional activity and introduce new devices in the second part of the year. Nonetheless, pent-up demand won’t lead to a boom in the second half of the year like it did in the same period in 2017.
“A third wave is possible, but as people and businesses in India adjust to pandemic circumstances, the effects should be minor,” Chaurasia added.
The research group predicts that smartphone manufacturers will encounter difficulties including growing expenses, limited supply of parts (such as memory chips), rising shipping costs, and a difficult economic environment.
According to Chaurasia, the shortage of components increases the likelihood that smartphone manufacturers may de-prioritize regions in favour of more lucrative, high-end markets.