Covid-19 impact: 48 per cent decline in smartphone shipments in India during Q2 FY21, says report

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Smartphone shipments in India witnessed a decline of 48 per cent in the second quarter owing to the Covid-19 pandemic according to a recent report by research firm Canalys. According to the report 17.3 million smartphone units were shipped in Q2 FY21. The decline in shipments was due to the “unprecedented shutdown” of India’s economy until Mid-May due to Covid-19. “Smartphone vendors faced a diabolical situation, dealing with both low supply due to a complete halt in production and diminished demand, as online and offline retailers were prohibited from selling smartphones,” the report said. Xiaomi has maintained its lead in India with 31 per cent of the overall market share. The brand has shipped 5.3 million smartphone units in the quarter. Xiaomi is followed by Vivo with 3.7 million units and a market share of 21.3 per cent, up from 19.9 per cent in Q1 2020. “Samsung was third, with 2.9 million smartphones shipped, and also saw exports impacted as its largest manufacturing plant outside of Vietnam shut down for most of Q2. Oppo edged out Realme to take the fourth position as it shipped 2.2 million units, compared to Realme’s 1.7 million,” the report said. “It’s been a rocky road to recovery for the smartphone market in India,” said Canalys Analyst Madhumita Chaudhary. “While vendors witnessed a crest in sales as soon as markets opened, production facilities struggled with staffing shortages on top of new regulations around manufacturing, resulting in lower production output. The fluidity of the lockdown situation across India has had a deep-rooted effect on vendors’ go-to-market strategies.”India’s border tensions with China have also added to the challenge.“Luck is not on the side of the Chinese vendors,” says Canalys Research Analyst Adwait Mardikar. “There has been public anger directed towards China. The combinations of this and the recently announced ‘Aatmanirbhar’ (self-sufficient) initiatives by the government have pushed Chinese smartphone vendors into the eye of the public storm.” Apple which is planning to increase its investments in partners Foxconn and Wistron in India has been the least impacted vendor as per the report. Apple shipments fell 20 per cent year-on-year.Vendors can explore new sales and marketing strategies to cope up with the market conditions. The launch of 5G can also prove to be a good opportunity for recovery. “The transition to 5G is the next big opportunity, and Jio’s announcement of readiness to deploy 5G, as soon as spectrum is made available, has provided a ray of hope to most vendors who have been beaten by the current pandemic,” added Chaudhary.

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