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India shipped a record 162 million smartphones in CY 2021, growth to continue in 2022

India shipped a record 162 million smartphones in CY 2021, growth to continue in 2022
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
24 Jan, 2022
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India shipped a record 162 million smartphones in 2021, growing 12% year-on-year (YoY) as compared 2020, reported market researcher Canalys in its quarterly tracker for Q4 2021. A total of 44.5 million smartphones were shipped during Q4. 

Canalys’ data varies slightly from Counterpoint Research data, released on January 21, which pegged smartphone shipments during CY 2021 at 169 million at an 11% annual growth rate.  

According to Canalys, the smartphone market dynamics in India shifted every quarter in 2021. The second Covid-19 wave disrupted the market in the first half. The market registered a strong comeback in Q3. 

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“Vaccination rollout, market reopening and pent-up demand, smartphone shipments reached all-time highs for the full-year,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, a research analyst at Canalys.  

Chaurasia also attributed the comeback to timely adaptation shown by smartphone brands, focus on omnichannel strategy, diversification of supply chain. 

For instance, Samsung and Realme diversified chipset configurations to effectively manage supply. Realme shipped a record 24.2 million devices during the year and 7.6 million units during Q4 2021 with planning and stock management. 

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Realme was the fastest-growing brand during Q4 2021 registering a 47% YoY growth to become the third leading smartphone brand with a 17% market share after Xiaomi (21%) and Samsung (19%). Both Xiaomi and Samsung’s market share plummeted by 22% and 7% respectively as compared to the year before it. Vivo and Oppo with 13% and 11% market share respectively were the other brands in the top five. 

In terms of annual market share, Xiaomi was the market leader too with 25% of all shipments, followed by Samsung (19%), Vivo (16%), Realme (15%) and Oppo (12%). 

According to Canalys, low-end smartphones gained significant traction during the quarter. For instance, JioPhone Next had a strong start and sold several million units. 

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Chaurasia expects the growth to continue in 2022, driven by both replacement demand, new customers migrating to smartphones and the desire to upgrade to devices that are ready when 5G services rollout. 

“This year will bring 5G spectrum auctions with new radio frequency ranges, and 5G will become significantly more accessible in terms of coverage and price. Smartphones capable of 5G will fall further in price amid fierce vendor rivalry, but shipments will be stifled in H1 2022 before the component shortage eases,” he added.