India's Q3 smartphone shipments hit record 46.6 million units

India's smartphone shipments hit a record 46.6 million units in the third quarter of 2019, recording a 9.3 per cent growth compared to the comparable quarter of the previous financial year and a 26.5 percent quarter-over-quarter growth, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

IDC attributes the spike in shipments to multiple online sale festivals by the online platforms like Flipkart and Amazon, new model launches, and price corrections on a few key models by various brands.
“The continued aggression by the online platforms with attractive cashback and buyback offers as well as affordability schemes like No Cost EMIs and financing options were key in taking the share of the online channel to a record high of 45.4 per cent with YoY growth of 28.3 per cent,” says Upasana Joshi, associate research manager, Client Devices, IDC India.
Offline sales, however, continued to face challenges, leading to a 2.6 per cent YoY decline in Q3 of 2019, even as the offline vendors tried to match offers with online players, says IDC. Consumer enquiries and footfall were relatively slow at the retail counters through September, compared with the previous years.
While the low-end price segment of $200 still accounted for 80 per cent of the overall India smartphone market in July-September 2019, its share dropped by five percentage points YoY at the cost of the mid-range segment of $200-$500, gaining six percentage points to 18.9 per cent during the quarter. 
The fastest growing segment in Q3 2019 was $300-500 with double the shipments YoY as key models like the OnePlus 7, Redmi K20 Pro and vivo V15 Pro had good traction. The $200-300 segment was the second fastest growing with 47.8 per cent YoY growth during the quarter, with strong shipments of the Galaxy A50, Redmi Note 7 Pro and vivo Z1 Pro. The ASP for the overall smartphone market was $159, with 2.7 per cent YoY growth in July-September 2019.
In the premium ($500+) segment, Apple continued to dominate with a market share of 51.3 per cent during the quarter, on the back of price drops on previous generation models like the iPhone XR, iPhone 8 and iPhone 7 (128GB), along with the newly launched iPhone 11/Pro series.
The feature phone market, accounting for 43.3 per cent of the total mobile phone shipments, registered a 17.5 per cent YoY decline in 3Q19 with shipments of 35.6 million units during the quarter. Shipments of 4G-enabled feature phones declined 20.3 per cent YoY due to heavy inventory in the channel. The 2/2.5G market also saw a decline of 16.2 per cent in July-September 2019 quarter.
Xiaomi recorded its highest ever smartphone shipments in a quarter with 12.6 million units, growing at 8.5 per cent YoY. The Redmi 7A and Redmi Note 7 Pro were the highest shipped models in the overall smartphone market. $300-500 price segment also gained traction for Xiaomi, driven by the Redmi K20 series. Xiaomi continued to lead in the online channel with a market share of 40 per cent in 3Q19, with four out of the five top models from Xiaomi.
Samsung was the only vendor amongst the top five to fall, dropping 8.5 per cent YoY in Q3 2019. The lag between older Galaxy A series (Galaxy A10, 50, etc) and the refreshed Galaxy As (Galaxy A10s, A50s etc) series just before the Diwali quarter led to this sharp decline. However, newly launched Galaxy M30s recorded strong shipments in its opening quarter.
Vivo registered a strong YoY growth of 58.7 per cent in Q3 2019 on the back of its affordable Y series (Y12, Y91/i) The newly-launched exclusive online Z/U series accounted for more than 20 per cent of its overall shipments, making vivo the third largest online vendor with a market share of 8.2 per cent during the quarter.
Realme climbed to the fourth position in Q3 2019, as its shipments grew multifold YoY, driven by heavy shipments of its affordable C2 model and its newly launched 5 and 3i series. The vendor’s online share was at an all-time high of 26.5 per cent in July-September 2019, up from 16.5 per cent in the previous quarter.
Oppo slipped to the fifth position during the quarter, but with a YoY growth of 92.3 per cent. Its A5s was the fifth-highest shipped model in the overall smartphone market. Moreover, Oppo became the second largest vendor in the fast-growing $300-500 segment on the back of its newly launched Reno 2 series. Its online exclusive K series was not able to find traction due to heavy competition by Xiaomi and realme in that segment.
“We expect the smartphone market to see only mid-to-high single digit YoY growth for the year 2019” Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India said. She attributed this to a strong undercurrent of passive consumer sentiment and muted shipments in the last quarter of the year due to a record Q3 2019 when channel stock levels went up.