Indian consumers check their mobile telephones at a free Wi-Fi Internet zone.   Photo: AFP/ Indranil Mukherjee
Indian consumers check their mobile phones in a free Wi-Fi zone. Photo: AFP / Indranil Mukherjee

Smartphone sales in India have yet to be affected by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but market researchers say the world’s second-largest market may feel the impact in the coming quarters.

Market research firm IDC has said the Indian smartphone market saw 18% growth in shipments year-on-year, with 38 million units shipped in the first three months of 2021.

But it indicated that the outbreak of the second wave and the possibility of a third wave may weaken sales in the coming quarters and the overall market may end with single-digit growth figures through 2021.

Chinese brands continue to dominate the market with Xiaomi maintaining a lead by shipping 10.4 million smartphones and capturing 27.2% of the market. Samsung regained second spot by shipping 7.3 million units, a 43.4% jump over last year, and garnered a market share of 19%.

Vivo shipped 6.6 million units, a 2.9% decline from last year, and slipped to third position with a 17.3% market share. It was followed by Oppo with a shipment of 4.7 million smartphones and a 12.2% market share, followed by Realme (4.1 million devices and a 10.7% market share).

IDC, however, is hopeful that the current Covid-19 wave impact may be less than last year as there is no nationwide lockdown. Factories continue to be operational though localized state-level lockdowns may impact the logistics.

As for a recovery, it says it may not be smooth and will depend on the impact of the ongoing second wave and a possible third one. Growth will also be modest due to reduced discretionary spending and supply constraints.

Counterpoint research also expects the second wave to impact consumer demand in the coming quarters. It said India’s smartphone shipments grew 23% year-on-year in the first quarter, and was driven by new product launches, promotions and financial schemes, as well as pent-up demand coming from 2020. It pointed out that the latest shipment of 38 million units was the highest for a first quarter.

However, it said these numbers need to be “taken with caution” as the second wave of Covid-19 is likely to impact the coming quarters. It expects demand to take a hit due to the ongoing pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

Foxconn hit

Meanwhile, Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn’s production at the Chennai plant was affected after more than 100 workers tested positive for Covid-19. Media reports say the Taiwanese company has enforced a no-entry ban at its factory until late May. The plant manufactures iPhones specifically for India.