India smartphone shipment reached the highest-ever quarterly shipment at 49 million units in the July-September 2019 quarter, growing 10 per cent year-on-year and beating concerns of slowdown in the segment, a report said on Thursday. The growth was driven by new launches, discounts and various pre-Diwali sale channel fill by all the leading smartphone brands for the Diwali festive season, Counterpoint Research said in a report. "The India smartphone market grew in double-digits reaching a record of 49 million units in third quarter 2019 offsetting the ongoing economic slowdown in other sectors. Given maturity of smartphone users in terms of digital content consumption, commerce and communication, the smartphone has become central to people's lives taking a priority in terms of their share of wallet," Counterpoint Research analyst Karn Chauhan said.
He added that smartphone brands have continued to expand their product portfolio with attractive advanced features and this trend is expected to help smartphones supersede other categories despite uncertain economic climate.
"The growth and maturity of online channels from serving more zip codes than ever coupled with greater customer service, attractive promotions from discounts to cashback to EMI and exchange offers will be pivotal in driving smartphone sales during this festive season and also taking a large share from the offline channels," Anshika Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint Research said.
Xiaomi continued to lead the smartphone tally with 26 per cent share, followed by Samsung (20 per cent), vivo (17 per cent), Realme (16 per cent) and Oppo (8 per cent).
Also, Apple made an entry into the top 10 smartphone brands tally due to price cuts on XR model along with good channel demand for of its newly launched iPhone 11, the report said. OnePlus emerged as the number one premium smartphone brand in the third quarter with its shipment almost doubling as compared with the last year, driven by the newly launched OnePlus 7T and discount offers on its OnePlus 7 series, it added.
The feature phone market witnessed a steep decline of approximately 37 per cent year-on-year "due to the slowdown in the new shipment from Reliance Jio as the operator was focused on clearing the older JioPhone inventory ahead of Diwali season," Counterpoint said.
"As a result, players such as itel, Lava and Karbonn registered positive annual growth despite the overall segment declined. In fact, itel emerged as the number two feature phone brand in third quarter 2019," it noted.
Counterpoint said itel's shipment grew 40 per cent y-o-y (year-on-year) in the quarter driven by strong offline expansion, focus on upgrading its affordable series with new features and localised marketing strategy.
In the feature phone segment, Samsung led the tally with 22 per cent share, followed by itel (16 per cent), Lava (about 16 per cent), Nokia (12 per cent) and Karbonn (7 per cent).