India’s smartphone market returned to strong growth in 2017 and was the best performer among the top-20 smartphone markets globally, IDC announced.
Total smartphone shipments in the country increased 14 per cent year-on-year to 124 million units in 2017. China-based vendors strengthened their positions as their combined share reached 53 per cent in 2017 from 34 per cent in 2016. Four of the top five vendors were from China.
Jaipal Singh, senior market analyst at IDC India, said untapped demand in lower-tier cities remains the key attraction for Chinese vendors seeking growth in India: “Their strength in their home market of China and the weakening position of local players has helped some of these China-based players to solidify their operations in India,” he said.
Samsung maintained its position as the market leader in smartphones with a 24.7 per cent share (see chart, left, click to enlarge), followed by Xiaomi (20.9 per cent), Vivo (9.4 per cent), Lenovo (7.8 per cent) and Oppo (7.5 per cent).
The feature phone segment, the largest globally, posted 17 per cent annual growth in 2017 after declining for three consecutive years. Samsung was on top with a 20.5 per cent market share, followed by Transsion (13.7 per cent), Micromax (8.7 per cent), Reliance Industries (8.3 per cent) and Lava (7.2 per cent).
Shipments in Q4 rose 18 per cent compared with a weak quarter in 2016, which was impacted by a government move to remove high-value banknotes from circulation.
In smartphones, Xiaomi surpassed Samsung as the market leader during Q4, with shipments of 2 million units giving it a 26.8 per cent market share compared with 24.2 per cent for Samsung. Vivo stood in third on a 6.5 per cent share, followed by Lenovo (5.6 per cent) and Oppo (4.9 per cent). In the feature phone sector, Reliance Industries topped the table with a 24.1 per cent market share, well ahead of second placed Samsung (14.5 per cent).
Upasana Joshi, senior market analyst at IDC India, said Xiaomi overtaking Samsung in the smartphone market and Reliance Jio emerging as the leading feature phone company in India were the two key highlights of Q4: “The growth of both the vendors was propelled by their aggressive pricing. Xiaomi’s offline expansion and higher marketing spends were other key factors for the vendor’s high shipments in the seasonally low quarter,” Joshi said.