Apple to dominate India's smartphone market by revenue share in 2023; In Samsung Volumes: Counterpoint

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iPhone maker Apple will lead the Indian market by revenue for the first time in 2023, while Samsung will top the list in terms of sales volume, market research firm Counterpoint Research said on Wednesday.

According to Counterpoint's Monthly India Smartphone Tracker report, while India's smartphone shipments will remain flat at 152 million units in 2023, Samsung and Chinese mobile phone makers Vivo and Oppo have managed to increase their shares.

“Apple's focus on India is also helping this trend, with the brand crossing the 10 million unit mark in shipments and taking the top spot in revenue for the first time in a calendar year, driven by strong demand for both its latest and older iPhones.

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“Opening of own retail stores and increased focus on large-format retail through regular promotions has helped boost offline shipments,” said Shubham Singh, research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

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Vivo followed Samsung with 17 percent market share in terms of volume.

“The first half of the year was challenging due to low demand and inventory build-up due to the ongoing macroeconomic crisis. The market started to recover in the second half of the year, supported by 5G upgrades and better-than-expected festive sales.” The report said.

The market share of Chinese smartphone players has dropped from the top spot to third place in terms of Xiaomi's volume market share. The company's market share has fallen from 20.3 percent a year ago to 16.5 percent in 2023.

The Indian smartphone market in the December 2023 quarter, however, grew by 25 percent year-on-year, driven by account growth in the premium segment and 5G upgrades.

“India's smartphone market grew in Q4 2023 after a year-long decline. The prolonged festive season further aided this growth as the availability of steep discounts, easy financing schemes and lucrative promotions boosted demand,” said Shilpi Jain, Senior Research Analyst, Counterpoint Research.

She said the 5G smartphone shipment share will cross 52 percent in 2023, growing at 66 percent on a YoY basis.

“The last quarter (October-December) exited the market with healthy inventory levels compared to last year, setting the right tone for growth next year. We believe the market will grow by 5 percent year-on-year next year due to premiumization, diffusion. 5G in lower price bands and better macroeconomic conditions.” Jain said.

In the December 2023 quarter, Xiaomi is expected to lead with 18.3 percent share, followed by Vivo with 17.3 percent share, Samsung with 16.8 percent share, Realme with 11.5 percent share and Oppo with 9.5 percent share.

Smartphone manufacturers have increased focus on premium devices, which is driving growth in their business.

Premium segment, equipment priced above 30,000, with 64 per cent YY growth to 2023 through easy financing schemes, resulting in consumers moving up price bands to afford high-end smartphones.

“One in every three smartphones will be purchased through financing in 2023,” the report said.

Counterpoint predicts that foldable smartphones will become more popular in the premium segment as more companies come up with foldable devices.

“We believe foldable shipments will surpass the 1-million milestone in 2024,” the report said.

Counterpoint predicts a growing trend of audio-video enhancements in smartphones powered by features such as Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision and Dolby Vision recording in 2024.

OnePlus projects 33 percent year-on-year growth in 2023, driven by offline expansion and an improved product portfolio that includes devices priced in the affordable premium segment. 30,000-45,000.

Transition Brands achieved 31 percent YoY growth primarily through a hybrid channel strategy, focused on bringing premium features to the affordable segment and a strong presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

Homegrown smartphone brand Lava alone grew by 36 percent. Google and Motorola rose 111 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

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