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New Delhi: Shipments of 5G smartphones in India crossed 10 million devices in the June quarter, accounting for 29% of the 37 million smartphones shipped during the quarter. With this, the total number of 5G smartphones being used in India crossed 50 million. 

Though this is the highest 5G phone shipments seen in a quarter, the overall Indian smartphone market continued to decline, falling 5% sequentially, as per a report published by Counterpoint Research on Friday.

This was the fourth sequential decline for smartphone shipments in India, Counterpoint said. However, shipments rose 9% year-on-year (YoY), halting three consecutive YoY declines. Smartphone shipments fell by 1% last quarter. This revival, as per Counterpoint, was not exactly a sign of recovery in the smartphone market since it came on a low base as the second wave of the covid-19 pandemic hit shipments in the second quarter of 2021.

“Consumers are preferring to repair their device or buy a refurbished one — rather than making a new purchase. This trend is more visible in the entry and budget segments. Due to this decline in demand, almost all the brands are facing inventory issues. At the end of June, India’s ongoing smartphone market was sitting on more than 10 weeks of inventory, more than double the normal inventory size," Prachir Singh, senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research India, said,

Industry analysts said, to revive smartphone demand in India, companies are likely to introduce offers and discounts in the interim period in anticipation of the upcoming festive season in India — such as the Amazon Prime Day Sale hosted on July 23. According to Navkendar Singh, research director at market research firm IDC India, festive season smartphone sales make for “almost half" of India’s annual smartphone sales — and given India’s slump in overall demand this year, could be even more crucial for brands.

The ongoing auction of 5G spectrum, and the impending availability of consumer 5G services in India, could further boost the total user count for 5G devices in India, said Shilpi Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint.

Last month, Ashwini Vaishnaw, union minister of railways, communications, and electronics and information technology (IT) said at a conference that 5G services for consumers will be ready for deployment across India by March next year. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had said in December last year that the rollout of commercial 5G services will begin with 13 cities in India, before expanding to the rest of the country.

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