2019 was an important year for the smartphone market in India. Counterpoint Research reports that the Indian smartphone market has officially overtaken the U.S. as the world’s second-largest market in terms of annual shipments. The growth was driven by the mid-tier segment in the region from Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, and Realme. Notably, India is already the second-largest market in the world in terms of the total handset install base but this is a new milestone for the growing market.
Q4 2019 also saw some changes in the positioning of brands in terms of market share in India. While Xiaomi retained a 27% market share in the final quarter of 2019, Vivo made a significant jump in the same period, overtaking Samsung as the second-largest smartphone maker in the region. Vivo’s market share grew from a mere 10% in 2018 to an incredible 21% in Q4 2019. On the other hand, Samsung’s market share dipped to 19% in the same period.
Vivo’s incredible growth was reportedly driven by the new ‘U‘ and ‘Z‘ models in India. The brand has renewed its focus on e-commerce platforms and offers fat commissions to offline retailers to promote its models, with a special focus on lower-tier cities.
Samsung’s declining market share has further helped Vivo rise to second place in the Indian market. In fact, Samsung’s market share in India was at its lowest (19%) in the final quarter of 2019 since 2016.
Realme’s market share dipped quite significantly in the last quarter of 2019. It fell from 16% in Q3 2019 to 8% in Q4 2019. This also allowed OPPO to overtake the brand to become the fourth-largest smartphone maker in the final quarter of the year. OPPO’s market share increased from 8% in Q3 2019 to 12% in Q4 2019 as it shipped nearly 2x smartphones in the last quarter vs the previous one.
In terms of overall market share in 2019, Xiaomi and Samsung retained their first and second places respectively, just like in 2018. Vivo made significant progress in 2019 increasing its overall market share from just 10% in 2018 to a solid 16% in 2019. But Realme was the fastest-growing smartphone brand in India in 2019 registering a staggering 255% growth. Realme’s market share increased to 10% in 2019 as compared to just 3% in 2019. OPPO’s growth in 2019 was relatively slow but it still managed to increase its shipments by 28% last year.
We can also see a change in the dynamics of the Indian smartphone market. In 2019, smartphone shipments were concentrated among the top five brands in India than ever before. The top 5 smartphone makers took a staggering 84% share of the market last year, a significant jump from 2018’s 73%. This means that the top five brands in India are increasingly strengthening their foothold in the market while other brands like Motorola and Huawei are losing their ground.