NEW DELHI: Smartphone shipments in India in the January-March quarter grew a tepid 4% year-on-year because of supply chain disruption and lockdown of factories, first in China and then in India in late March, according to CMR’s India mobile handset market review report for Q1 2020, published today.
A Counterpoint Research report also said that smartphone shipments grew 4% YoY during the quarter.
According to the CMR report, the first crop of 5G smartphones in India, which included iQOO 3 and Realme X50 Pro, arrived in Q1 and accounted for 2% of total shipments. Although India is yet to roll out 5G services, having the technology makes these smartphones future ready.
Xiaomi, Vivo and Samsung were the three leading smartphone vendors in the India market in Q1 and accounted for 30%, 17% and 16% of smartphone shipments respectively.
"At the beginning of the year, covid-19 was merely a supply-side challenge confined to China. Smartphone brands in India were able to tide over the initial wave of the crisis with enough inventory supplies,"said Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.
"However, as covid-19 cases in India crossed the 500 mark in late March, India went into a complete lockdown. For smartphone brands, this has put both supply as well as demand in a state of uncertainty. Q2 2020 will be where the industry will face the brunt of the pandemic and test the resilience of smartphone brands," Ram added.
The CMR report said demand will remain weak in the next few months as well.
Anand Priya Singh, analyst- Industry Intelligence Group, CMR pointed out that faced with personal and economic uncertainties, consumer spending will remain muted for the better part of the year. Unless absolutely necessary, such as replacing a mobile phone, consumers may choose to conserve.
"However, we expect the market to recover lost ground in the run-up to the festive season," added Singh.
With more users turning to smartphones, demand for feature phones fell 20% YoY.
Itel, Samsung, and Lava were the top three vendors in the feature phone segment with market share of 21%, 20% and 17% respectively.
After the lockdown was partially lifted on 3 May, several phone vendors started production.
Earlier this week, Manu Jain, managing director of Xiaomi India, said the company's manufacturing partner Foxconn has received approval to reopen its plant in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.
Another leading phone vendor Oppo has said it is resuming production gradually at its Greater Noida facility with 30% workforce.
Jain said everyone will suffer losses in Q2, 2020, but Q3 and Q4, along with Diwali sales should be fine.