Smartphone shipments in India grew the highest ever with an 11 percent year-on-year increase to reach 169 million units in 2021, according to a market research report. The significant growth in the smartphone shipments come alongside a record increase in the revenue generated by the market. While Xiaomi maintained its leadership in the smartphone market in India, Samsung registered its highest-ever retail average selling price (ASP) in the year. Shipments of 5G phones in the country also marked the largest-ever growth in 2021. Alongside smartphones, the overall handset market also grew in 2021. However, feature phone shipments showed a flat growth.
Market research and consulting firm Counterpoint on Monday reported that the high replacement demand backed by increasing smartphone affordability in the mid- and high-price tiers due to promotions and discounts as well as better financing options resulted in an 11 percent year-on-year growth in the Indian market in 2021.
On the part of revenue, the firm said that the smartphone market retail ASP in the country grew 14 percent year-on-year in 2021 to reach its highest ever at $227 (roughly Rs. 17,000).
Counterpoint also noted that the Indian smartphone market revenue crossed $38 billion (roughly Rs. 2,83,900 crore) in 2021, with a growth of 27 percent year-on-year.
Xiaomi continued to lead the market in India in 2021, with a two percent year-on-year growth. The Chinese company grew as much as 258 percent in the premium segment that comprises phones above the Rs. 30,000 price point. However, component shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the second half of the year impacted volumes in the mass market segment, Counterpoint said.
Following Xiaomi, Samsung remained the second biggest player in the India market. The South Korean company grew eight percent year-on-year in terms of shipments. The latest report also shows that Samsung emerged as the top brand in 5G smartphone shipments in the country in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Similarly, Samsung led the Rs. 20,000 – Rs. 45,000 segment with a 28 percent share. The company's foldable device shipments that comprise the Galaxy Fold and Galaxy Flip series grew 388 percent year-on-year in the year, Counterpoint noted.
In 2021, Realme became the fastest growing brand in the country, with 20 percent year-on-year growth. The company also captured second place in the second quarter of 2021, the firm said.
Aside from Realme, Apple was one of the fastest growing brands in the country in 2021. The iPhone maker received 108 percent year-on-year growth in shipments. It also maintained leadership in the premium segment with a 44 percent share, according to Counterpoint.
On the 5G smartphones front, the latest report shows that 5G shipments in the country registered 555 percent year-on-year growth in 2021. It was due to the fact that most companies started bringing their 5G phones in the market last year.
Vivo became the top 5G smartphone brand in the country in 2021. The company captured a 19 percent share, marking two percent year-on-year growth. Counterpoint also noted that Vivo remained the leading player in the offline segment alongside strengthening its hold in the online segment through its sub-brand iQoo.
Vivo sibling Oppo came fifth in the market, with a six percent year-on-year growth. Counterpoint said that the company was the fastest growing brand in the premium segment.
Alongside Vivo and Oppo, Chinese competitor Transsion Group that has Itel, Infinix, and Tecno brands in the market registered a 55 percent year-on-year growth in India in 2021 and crossed the mark of 10 million shipments in a single year. The trio also maintained their third position in the overall handset market in India, with Itel being the largest player in the feature phone market segment for the last two consecutive years, the report said.
Oppo subsidiary OnePlus reached its highest-ever shipments in the country in 2021, according to Counterpoint. The company marked a 59 percent year-on-year growth, crossing five million shipments. The growth was driven by the OnePlus Nord series.
OnePlus also led the affordable premium segment that comprises phones ranging between Rs. 30,000 – Rs. 45,000 segment. The company also captured a 19 percent share and second position in the premium segment, as per Counterpoint.
“The demand outstripped the supply in the last two quarters of 2021,” said Counterpoint Senior Research Analyst Prachir Singh in a prepared statement. “During Q4 2021, the smartphone market declined eight percent YoY. We expect the supply situation to get better going forward and reach normalcy by the end of Q1 2022.”
Counterpoint Research Analyst Shilpi Jain said that the price hikes in the budget segment due to component price rise, increasing focus of OEMs on the premium segment, and increased demand for mid-range and premium smartphones due to increasing uses and availability of financing options contributed to the increasing ASP of smartphones in India.
“Local manufacturing bounced back, contributing 98 percent shipments in 2021, compared to 90 percent in 2020,” said Jain. “The PLI scheme has been a great booster for the Indian mobile manufacturing ecosystem, attracting top players like Apple and Samsung to increase their ‘Make in India' footprint and make India their export hub.”
She added that handset exports in the country also saw a 26 percent year-on-year increase in 2021.
Unlike the smartphone market alone, the overall mobile phone market in the country in 2021 was dominated once again by Samsung. The company took a share of 17 percent.
Feature phone shipments in the country reached 86 million units in the year. While Itel led the market, Lava, Samsung, and Jio were the remaining contenders in the list of top-four feature phone vendors in the country, Counterpoint said.
Last week, Canalys said in its report that the smartphone market in India grew 12 percent in 2021 despite a tough start to the year owing to the second wave of COVID-19.