Samsung and Vivo have surpassed Xiaomi in unit shipments to become the top two smartphone vendors in India in the December quarter of 2022, according to a Canalys report, released on Thursday. Samsung has moved to the top spot in India for the first time since September quarter of 2017.
Despite festive season sales, smartphone shipments during the quarter fell by 27% year-on-year (YoY) to 32.4 million, making it the biggest decline in a year-end quarter, the report added. In comparison, annual shipments in 2022 declined at a much lower rate of 6% to 151.6 million units.
Analysts at the research firm attributed the decline to a fall in transactions, retail spending, and electronic imports. Due to weak demand, smartphone brands struggled to clear inventory.
Xiaomi has been the undisputed leader in the Indian smartphone market, however, according to findings of some of the other market research firms, it ceded the spot to Samsung briefly in 2020 after the pandemic disrupted the supply of many brands. For instance, an October 2020 report by Counterpoint Research claimed Samsung surpassed Xiaomi as the number one smart vendor in India.
According to Canalys, Samsung shipped 6.7 million smartphones in the December quarter taking 21% of the market, while Vivo with 6.4 million units accounted for 20% of the market. Xiaomi’s shipments fell 40% YoY to 5.5 million units, resulting in market share dropping to 17%.
“Xiaomi aimed to clear out inventory of its older models using the e-commerce channel. But, due to poor e-commerce festive sales performance, Xiaomi and Realme saw significant stockpiling of their products in online channels in Q4 2022,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, analyst at Canalys.
On the other hand, Vivo and its sister brand Oppo focused on offline channels, which helped them to grow. Samsung too used its strong retail presence to drive volume and target consumers across multiple channels, he added.
Though Xiaomi has ceded the top position in the December quarter, in terms of annual shipments in CY22, it is still the number one brand in India with 29.6 million units and 20% market share while Samsung has a 19% share on the back of 28.6 million units.
Apple shipped 1.9 million iPhones in the December quarter and held on to the sixth spot. According to Chaurasia, its new iPhone 14 series didn't do very well as it didn’t offer a significant upgrade over iPhone 13.
Going forward, the demand is expected to remain slow. “We are entering 2023 with economic indicators suggesting a sluggish performance in the short term,” said Chaurasia.
Canalys forecasted moderate growth in the Indian smartphone market this year. It will be mainly driven by the demand to upgrade to 5G devices, state government deals, and the introduction of new use cases.