The smartphone vendors are realising the potential of offline sales in tier 2 and 3 cities, where the internet penetration is relatively low. While Tier 1 cities are turning out to be major hub for online smartphone sales, vendors are tapping into tier 2, tier 3 cities and rural areas by setting up offline distribution networks.
According to IDC’s monthly city level smartphone tracker, the leading 30 cities of India saw growth of 10.2 per cent in smartphone sales in Q2 2016. The IDC report also notes that the smartphone sales in Tier 2&3 cities is outgrowing that of Tier 1 cities. As far as numbers are concerned, the smartphone sales in Tier 2&3 cities saw a growth of 12.9 per cent while the growth in Tier 1 cities was 8.1 per cent. The report also indicates saturation coming to smartphone sales especially in the urban markets.
“We are seeing changes in the distribution strategies by many vendors with many popular online exclusive models being made available offline as well, such as Xiaomi Redmi Note3, LeEco Le1s, Moto G Turbo Edition, etc. This is indicative of an evolving hybrid distribution structure – online plus offline, which will help these vendors bring their popular smartphone models into smaller towns & cities,” said Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.
“With aggressive marketing spends and channel expansion, China based vendors like Oppo & Vivo are gaining traction across all city Tiers. The channel is upbeat and excited with the sales schemes being offered by these vendors resulting in fast moving stocks,” adds Joshi.
IDC also adds that China-based smartphone vendors contributed to largest growth in the $150-$200 & $200-$250 price segment across top 30 cities in India. The Chinese OEMs currently have a market share of 28 per cent in Tier 1 cities and 24 per cent in Tier 2&3 cities.
As far as smartphone market share is concerned, Reliance Digital’s LYF brand is the only Indian company to hold onto its market share while others consolidated their position to China-based smartphone makers. Among global brands, Samsung continues to be the market leader with sustained growth in sales. The smartphone vendor chart also clearly suggests the inability among China-based smartphone vendors to tap into Tier2&3 cities, which still relies on brick and mortar stores for sales.
Apple has just 2.5 per cent market in the top 30 cities and has seen nearly 50 per cent decline in market share but the company also commands over 35 per cent share in the above $300 price segment. Samsung still leads the smartphone market share with 28.5 per cent share, a growth of 5.7 per cent over previous quarter.
IDC’s latest report makes it clear that offline-only could be the next online-only for smartphone vendors especially in Tier 2&3 cities.