KOLKATA: The share of Chinese smartphone brands in total sales may come down for the first time in the just concluded April-June quarter, says top researchers IDC India, Counterpoint Research and Canalys.
These trackers attributed this to the rising anti-China sentiments and supply constraints these brands faced from Indian plants and multiple consignments of imported finished products and components stuck at customs since last week.
Two senior industry executives said the combined decline in market share could be 5-9% and may continue in July-September unless the custom hold up of Chinese consignments improves and anti-Chinese sentiments die down depending on the Galwan Valley border situation. Both IDC and Counterpoint, however, said they are yet to freeze the shipment numbers of last quarter.
IDC India research director Navkendar Singh said there are early indications that Samsung might be able to see some growth, while the market will see a de growth due to April-May nationwide lockdown.
“But this could be temporary depending on how the consumer sentiments play out and availability of Chinese brands considering they have extremely low inventory in both online and offline stores for a couple of weeks now,” he said.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research associate director Tarun Pathak said the share of Chinese handsets will see some decline with non-Chinese brands like Samsung and Nokia gaining share last quarter.
“Some consumers have started buying handsets depending on the brand’s country of origin. All depends on how long these sentiments linger and how fast competitors can scale up production. After all, Chinese brands still have a strong hold on the Indian market especially when it comes to R&D, channel reach and product portfolio,” he said.
Three leading cellphone retail chains too said some consumers have started to seek non-Chinese brands.
South’s largest chain, Sangeetha Mobiles director Chandu Reddy said sales of non-Chinese brands have gone up in the last few weeks as compared to earlier. “While consumers have started to ask for non-Chinese brands, few of them still settled for Chinese brands due to lack of options,” he said.
As per Counterpoint, while Chinese smartphone brands together controlled 81% share in January to March quarter, other MNC brands had 18% share and Indian brands 1%. As per latest regulatory filings, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo together had clocked over Rs 73,000 crore sales in India in 2018-19.
Canalys analyst (mobility) Madhumita Chaudhary feels these are short term impediments until the situation cools off. She said the situation will not change overnight as consumers have limited options and while other vendors like Samsung may leverage this to their advantage but the brand’s market share in the sub-$ 200 segment is declining as compared to Chinese brands.
While smartphone plants started production in May, the Oppo plant at Greater Noida had to shut down again after a few cases of Covid-19 infection were found amongst workers. The Oppo plant also manufactures for OnePlus and Realme which impacted their stock availability.
Xiaomi and Vivo also could not scale up production in India last month due to social distancing norms and labour shortage. Xiaomi and Oppo started importing finished smartphones from China.