Industry analyst International Data Corporation (IDC) has published a new report on smartphone shipments in the Indian market during the last quarter that ended in March. According to it, the country saw the shipments touch 30 million units during the three-month period while recording a YoY growth of 11 percent. The report calls it "the strongest start to a year" when there was a negligible growth compared to the previous quarter that ended in December 2017. The report adds that the Q1 2018 witnessed strong growth in the premium segment (above $600) especially for Samsung. The Galaxy S9 line from the South Korean giant helped drive a 68-percent YoY growth rate for the company, making it the segment leader with a hefty 77-percent share.
The high-end tier in the smartphone market ($400-$600) was topped by OnePlus with a share of over 50 percent. The OnePlus 5 and 5T launched last year have been immensely popular in the country and have played a pivotal role in achieving this majority share. In the overall smartphone segment, Xiaomi continued with its polar position, thanks to its pocket-friendly smartphones, and the company's recent foray into the offline retail market. Besides expanding its Mi Home stores throughout the country, Xiaomi has also partnered with a number of local retailers to compete against its peers, including OPPO and Vivo, that have established a strong presence in the offline space. The share of online shipments in Xiaomi's total smartphone shipments was 53 percent during Q1 2018, a rise from 32 percent a year ago. With its brands itel and Tecno, Transsion has managed to expand its footprint in the offline market by targeting remote areas. On the other hand, brands like Honor, iVOOMi, and Tenor (10.or) are aiming for a bigger piece of the pie by focusing on online sales.
IDC's report also addresses the increasing cost of importing pre-assembled smartphones, and even their components, after a hike in the import duty was imposed by the government to promote local manufacturing. This has resulted in shrinking margins throughout the supply chain to avoid transferring the burden to customers. While the companies that are committed to the Indian market are considering local manufacturing of smartphone components to keep the rising costs in check. Despite a long list of challenges, the Indian smartphone market is flourishing with a growth rate of 11 percent when the global shipments have fallen by about 2.9 percent during the same period.