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Going Strong Amidst Multiple Hiccups: India’s Resilient Smartphone Market in 2022


Going Strong Amidst Multiple Hiccups: India’s Resilient Smartphone Market in 2022

The Indian smartphone market has witnessed remarkable growth and transformation over the years, and the financial year 2022-2023 (FY23) was no exception. With a burgeoning population and increasing digital penetration, India remains a significant market for smartphone manufacturers worldwide. The Indian smartphone market experienced fluctuations throughout 2022. While overall shipments declined by 9% YoY, the premium segment saw significant growth, contributing 11% to shipments and 35% to market revenue, reaching its highest-ever levels. Samsung emerged as the leading brand, both in Q4 2022 and for the entire year, capturing a significant market share. Xiaomi maintained its dominance with a 20% market share in shipment volume. Apple led the premium smartphone market, with the iPhone 13 becoming the top-selling model. The rise of 5G smartphones was evident, accounting for a substantial share of shipments, with Samsung as the top-selling 5G brand. Realme showcased rapid growth and secured a prominent position among the top brands. Q2 2022 saw YoY growth, but a decline compared to the previous quarter. Xiaomi maintained its market leadership, and Samsung excelled in the 5G smartphone segment. Q1 2022 witnessed a slight decline, with Xiaomi leading the market and achieving its highest-ever retail ASP. Samsung dominated the 5G segment and the affordable premium category. Overall, despite fluctuations, the Indian smartphone market demonstrated resilience, growing adoption of 5G devices, and strong competition among leading brands.


Overview of the Indian Smartphone Market
Q4, 2022 Highlights: The Indian smartphone market experienced a decline of 9% YoY in 2022, with shipments reaching over 152 million units. Despite this dip, the premium segment, defined as devices priced above INR 30,000 or approximately $365, saw substantial growth, contributing 11% to shipments and 35% to market revenue, reaching its highest-ever levels. This article delves into the market dynamics of 2022, highlighting the leading brands, market shares, and the rise of 5G smartphones.


Shipment Volume and Revenue Distribution
In 2022, the Indian smartphone market witnessed a shift in the distribution of shipments and revenue. The premium segment, representing devices with higher price points, played a significant role. It accounted for 11% of total shipments, while contributing a substantial 35% to market revenue. This trend indicates the willingness of consumers to invest in higher-end devices for enhanced features and experiences.


Leading Brands in 2022
Samsung: Samsung emerged as the leading brand in Q4 2022, consolidating its position as the market leader for the entire year. In terms of shipment value share, Samsung held a significant 22% share, followed closely by Apple. This success can be attributed to Samsung’s wide range of offerings, brand reputation, and strategic marketing efforts.

Xiaomi: Xiaomi held a 20% market share in terms of shipment volume in 2022, making it a key player in the Indian smartphone market. However, in Q4 2022, Xiaomi slipped to the third position in terms of shipment volume, with Samsung leading the market during that period.
Apple: Apple continued to dominate the premium smartphone segment in India. The iPhone 13, in particular, emerged as the top-selling model, further solidifying Apple’s leadership position in the premium category.


Market Share Dynamics
Samsung: Samsung captured a 19% market share in terms of shipment volume for the entire year of 2022, closely following Xiaomi. However, in Q4 2022, Samsung regained its position as the market leader, commanding a 20% market share in terms of shipment volume.
Xiaomi: Despite slipping to the third position in Q4 2022, Xiaomi maintained a significant market share throughout the year, holding a 20% share in terms of shipment volume.
Vivo: Vivo secured the second spot in terms of shipment volumes in Q4 2022, capturing an 18% market share. This performance contributed to Vivo’s overall market share in the Indian smartphone market.


Rise of 5G Smartphones
The adoption of 5G smartphones gained traction in India, capturing a 32% market share in 2022. Samsung emerged as the top-selling 5G brand, commanding a 21% share. This success can be attributed to Samsung’s diverse lineup of 5G-enabled devices and its brand reputation.


Q3, 2022 Highlights : India’s smartphone market experienced an 11% YoY decline in Q3 2022, with shipments surpassing 45 million units. Xiaomi emerged as the market leader during this period, capturing a 21% shipment share, closely followed by Samsung. Notably, one in three smartphones shipped during the quarter was a 5G device, highlighting the increasing adoption of this advanced technology. Samsung dominated the 5G smartphone segment with a 20% market share, with OnePlus and vivo following closely behind. In the premium smartphone segment, Apple led the way, with Samsung securing the second position. Remarkably, for the first time ever, an iPhone model, the iPhone 13, claimed the top spot in the overall India smartphone quarterly shipment rankings. This achievement signifies Apple’s growing popularity and strong performance in the Indian market.


Q2, 2022 Highlights
In Q2 2022 (April-June), India’s smartphone shipments experienced a YoY growth of 9%, reaching nearly 37 million units. However, there was a 5% decline compared to the previous quarter. Xiaomi maintained its position as the market leader in Q2 2022, capturing a 19% shipment share, closely followed by Samsung.
During this quarter, India’s smartphone installed base crossed the significant milestone of 600 million. This indicates the substantial and ever-expanding user base in the country.
The adoption of 5G smartphones continued to gain traction, with such devices contributing to 29% of the overall shipments in Q2 2022. Samsung led the 5G smartphone segment with a 25% market share, followed by vivo and OnePlus.
In terms of popular smartphone models, three out of the top five models in Q2 2022 belonged to realme. This highlights the brand’s strong presence and consumer appeal in the Indian market.
In the premium smartphone market, dominated by devices priced above INR 30,000, Samsung led the way, closely followed by Apple. These two brands enjoyed a significant market share in the premium segment, reflecting their strong brand reputation and high-quality offerings.
Overall, despite a slight decline compared to the previous quarter, the Indian smartphone market experienced healthy YoY growth in Q2 2022. Xiaomi maintained its market leadership, while Samsung held a strong position in both the overall market and the premium segment. The growing adoption of 5G smartphones and the success of realme in the popular smartphone models further contributed to the dynamics of the Indian smartphone market during this period.


Q1, 2022 Highlights
In Q1 2022 (January-March), India’s smartphone shipments experienced a slight decline of 1% YoY, reaching over 38 million units. During this period, Xiaomi maintained its market leadership, capturing a significant 23% shipment share. Notably, Xiaomi achieved its highest-ever retail Average Selling Price (ASP) with a remarkable 24% YoY growth.
Samsung secured the second position in the market and emerged as the top brand in the 5G smartphone segment during Q1 2022. Additionally, Samsung led the affordable premium segment, which includes devices priced between INR 30,000 and INR 45,000.
Among the top five smartphone brands, realme showcased the fastest growth and secured the third spot. The brand’s popularity and market presence continued to surge during this period.
In terms of specific smartphone models, OnePlus’ Nord CE 2 5G stood out as the top-selling 5G smartphone in Q1 2022, showcasing the brand’s success in this particular category.
In the premium smartphone market, Apple led the way with its high-end offerings, commanding a significant market share. Samsung followed closely behind, solidifying its position as a strong competitor in the premium segment.
Despite a slight decline in overall shipments, the Indian smartphone market in Q1 2022 witnessed noteworthy developments. Xiaomi maintained its dominance, while Samsung performed well in the 5G and affordable premium segments. The fast-paced growth of realme, the success of OnePlus’ Nord CE 2 5G, and Apple’s leadership in the premium segment added to the market’s dynamics during this period.


Breakdown of 4G and 5G Smartphones
Although the adoption of 5G technology was still in its early stages in FY23, several smartphone manufacturers introduced 5G-enabled devices to cater to the growing demand. However, 4G smartphones continued to dominate the market due to the prevalent network infrastructure and affordability. The approximate breakdown of 4G and 5G smartphones in India during FY23 was as follows:
4G Smartphones: Around 80% of smartphones sold in India during FY23 were 4G-enabled. This can be attributed to the extensive 4G network coverage across the country and the affordability of 4G devices.
5G Smartphones: The adoption of 5G smartphones increased gradually, accounting for approximately 20% of the total smartphone sales in FY23. With the government’s efforts to roll out 5G infrastructure and increased consumer awareness, the demand for 5G smartphones is expected to rise further in the coming years.


Major Developments in FY23
The Indian smartphone market witnessed several significant developments in FY23, shaping the industry landscape. Here are some notable highlights:

Production Incentives: The Indian government introduced production-linked incentives (PLI) schemes to encourage domestic smartphone manufacturing. Under this initiative, several brands invested in setting up manufacturing units in India, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on imports and promoting the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Localization Initiatives: Smartphone brands increasingly focused on localization, including manufacturing, assembly, and sourcing components within India. This helped them take advantage of cost benefits, improve supply chain efficiency, comply with government policies, and contribute to job creation in the country.

Rise of Affordable Smartphones: In FY23, there was a surge in the demand for affordable smartphones, particularly in rural and semi-urban areas. Domestic and international brands capitalized on this trend by launching feature-rich devices at competitive prices, making smartphones more accessible to a wider consumer base. The availability of affordable smartphones contributed significantly to the overall market growth.

Increased Online Sales: Online channels continued to gain prominence for smartphone sales, with e-commerce platforms offering attractive deals, exclusive models, and convenient delivery options. Both established brands and new entrants leveraged online platforms to reach customers across the country. The convenience and discounts offered by online channels played a crucial role in driving smartphone sales in FY23.

Growing Focus on After-Sales Service: Smartphone brands recognized the importance of providing robust after-sales service to build customer loyalty. They expanded their service centers, improved turnaround times, and offered extended warranty programs to enhance the overall ownership experience. The focus on after-sales service became a key differentiator for brands, contributing to customer satisfaction and repeat purchases.


The Indian smartphone market showcased remarkable growth and dynamism in FY23, with a large and expanding consumer base. Brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Realme, Vivo, and Oppo emerged as frontrunners, catering to diverse consumer segments with feature-packed and affordable smartphones. These brands reported substantial revenues, reflecting their strong market presence. While 4G smartphones continued to dominate, the adoption of 5G devices witnessed a gradual increase. The industry also witnessed significant developments, including government initiatives, localization efforts, a rise in affordable smartphones, increased online sales, and a growing focus on after-sales service. As the Indian smartphone market continues to evolve, it presents immense opportunities for both domestic and international players to innovate and tap into the country’s ever-expanding consumer base.

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