Chinese smartphone makers are giving homegrown players a tough time, according to data shared by Singapore-based research firm Canalys. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Indian handset makers including Micromax, Intex and Lava have failed to make it to the top five among the list of smartphone vendors. “In Q4 2015, Micromax, Intex and Lava took second, third and fifth place, accounting for almost 30% of the market. One year on and all three vendors have dropped out of the top five, with their collective share falling to around 11%,” said Canalys’ report.
The research firm said Indian mobile handset makers have been hit hard by the Indian government’s decision to demonetize the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes in November last year. “Local brand’s target customers typically buy in cash and from independent retailers. With the short-term liquidity crunch caused by demonetization, these retailers are suffering a slowdown in consumer spending. Local vendors are losing out as retailers look to shift their stock to fast-moving, current devices,” said Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi.
Samsung, which is the largest smartphone vendor in India, saw its shipments decline to 6.2 million in the quarter from 7 million in the same quarter for the previous year. However, the South Korean technology firm leads the Indian smartphone market with a 22 per cent market share, even though it saw an 11 per cent drop in growth on an yearly basis.
In second position is Xiaomi with a market share of 11 per cent as it reached the 3 million-mark, growing by more than 230 per cent, according to data from Canalys. Another Chinese smartphone maker Oppo held the third position as it managed to ship 2.6 million units, a significant boost from the 150,000 a year ago, and saw 1500 per cent increase from Q4 2015.
“Oppo’s intensive brand-building has paid off. In the past year, it has sponsored popular TV shows, T20 cricket and signed up local celebrities Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor to build popularity,” said Research Analyst Lucio Chen. “Beyond sponsorships, Oppo has also driven strong channel expansion activities, investing in channel marketing initiatives and securing vital shelf space with local mobile retailers. While this is a capital-intensive approach, the significance of building a brand in India cannot be underestimated”, he explained further.
Lenovo finished fourth with 2.6 million units shipped and a 9 per cent market share, followed by Vivo, which shipped just over 2 million smartphones. According to Canalys, Lenovo saw a fall in shipments during Q4, while Vivo saw a triple digit jump in numbers.