India continues to be one of the rare growth markets for the global smartphone industry after it lodged a 17 percent year-on-year increase in unit shipments in the second quarter of 2016, according to a new report from IDC.
That growth came off the back of two successive quarters of shipment declines, with Q2 registering a slim 3.7 percent increase on the shipment total for Q1 2016, the research firm said. For context: worldwide smartphone sales are forecast to slow to just 3.1 percent annual growth this year.
In terms of vendors, it is very much the story that we’ve seen before in India: Samsung leads the pack, with Apple nowhere to be seen.
Samsung took 25.1 percent of all smartphone shipments during the three-month period, ahead of Micromax (12.9 percent), Lenovo (7.8 percent), Intex (7.1 percent) and Reliance Jo (6.8 percent). IDC didn’t report a figure for Apple such was its lowly position.
While Lenovo was the only Chinese vendor in the top five, IDC noted that Chinese smartphone makers as a whole are seeing their shipment numbers rise in India. That’s in contrast to global and India-based players, whose numbers shrunk year-on-year.
“China based vendors’ shipments grew 28 percent over previous quarter of which Lenovo group, Vivo, Xiaomi, OPPO and Gionee were key contributors driving the growth,” IDC analyst Karthik J said in a statement.
Not only that, but Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi shipped over 1 million devices in the quarter, matching a feat that had only been achieved in India by one Chinese phone company before: Lenovo. IDC said also that Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 was the top selling phone based on online sales, and the Chinese firm’s biggest seller in the quarter. Xiaomi’s progress in India runs contrast to China, where it watched Huawei overtake it at the top of the smartphone market in the last quarter.
The second and third quarters of the year are usually tough on Apple, as consumers wait on the company’s next devices which are typically unveiled in September.
Apple did indeed post a 15 percent drop in phone sales during the Q2 2016 quarter. While its new four-inch iPhone SE performed as intended in the U.S. and parts of Europe, winning Apple new marketshare, IDC’s data suggested that it didn’t do well in India.
“Apple’s iPhone SE failed to make any significant impact in the premium segment while its previous generation iPhone 5S continued to contribute majority volume,” the analyst firm said.
That’s not a huge surprise since the device’s $399 price remains high, for now, as I previously argued. For many in India, older devices like the iPhone 5S continue to represent better value for money. It is still early days though, and the iPhone SE could have an impact if and when Apple decides to lower its price. The fact remains that, on the evidence so far, the phone is making a bigger impact in the West, perhaps where its smaller form factor helps it stand out from Apple’s other devices.