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Friday, May 24, 2024

Indians turn to China for smartphones again

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In Short:

Despite government scrutiny, Chinese smartphone brands like Xiaomi and Vivo are seeing an increase in market share, reaching 75% in the March quarter. Smaller brands like Motorola and Transsion are also expanding their footprint. However, their cumulative revenue share is falling due to the premiumisation trend favoring iPhones and Samsung. Samsung leads in terms of value, with Apple leading the premium segment in India.


In New Delhi, Chinese smartphone brands are experiencing a rise in volumes once again, following a decline from a peak in 2020, despite ongoing government scrutiny. However, their cumulative revenue share is decreasing due to the strengthening trend towards premiumization, with iPhones and Samsung devices being preferred by customers in the high-end segment.

The cumulative market share of Chinese smartphone brands including Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Realme, Transsion, and Motorola increased to 75% in the March quarter, after hitting a low of 61% in the July-September period, according to Counterpoint Research.

Chinese Cos Dial Into Offline Sales

The current volume share is approaching their peak of 77% achieved in Q1 2020, before geopolitical tensions disrupted their operations. Despite government probes and arrests of executives, consumer demand remained strong for Chinese brands due to their value-for-money offerings.

Chinese smartphone brands have maintained a stable volume share in the value-for-money segment, while increasing their presence in the premium segment. Shipments for brands like Xiaomi, Motorola, and Transsion saw significant growth in the March quarter.

In contrast to 2023, where macroeconomic conditions impacted Chinese brands, the year 2024 has been more favorable with a focus on offline channels and premium offerings.

An anonymous executive from a Chinese smartphone brand highlighted strong relationships with channel partners and distributors as a key factor in maintaining market position and consumer loyalty.

In recent times, Samsung has emerged as the top player in the Indian smartphone market, while Chinese brands have seen a decline in cumulative revenue share. Apple and Samsung have capitalized on the premiumization trend, gaining traction in the market.

Experts attribute the shift in revenue share to Chinese brands’ focus on budget segments and the rise of competitors like Apple and Samsung in the premium segment. Samsung led the market in terms of value in the quarter ended March, while Apple dominated the premium segment.

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