Chinese brands dominate Indian smartphone market

A man cleans a screen displaying a phone model of Chinese smartphone maker Vivo inside a shop in Ahmedabad. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Chinese brands controlled a record 66% of Indian smartphone market in the first quarter, led by Xiaomi Corp, a report showed, with volumes rising 20% on the back of popularity for brands like Vivo, RealMe and Oppo.

Xiaomi’s India shipments fell by 2% over last year, but the Beijing-based company was still the biggest smartphone brand in the country, followed by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, according to Hong-Kong based Counterpoint Research.

Shipment volumes for Vivo jumped 119%, while those of Oppo rose 28%.

“Vivo’s expanding portfolio in the mid-tier range ($100 to $180) drove its growth along with aggressive Indian Premier League cricket campaign,” Counterpoint analysts said.

India is the world’s fastest growing market for smartphones, where affordable pricing coupled with features like “selfie” cameras and big screens have popularised Chinese brands. 

Video streaming services like Netflix Inc and Hotstar, as well as heavy usage of messaging apps like Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp have further spurred demand.

“Data consumption is on the rise and users are upgrading their phones faster as compared to other regions,” Counterpoint’s Tarun Pathak said.

“As a result of this, the premium specs are now diffusing faster into the mid-tier price brands. We estimate this trend to continue leading to a competitive mid-tier segment in coming quarters.”

(Reporting By Arnab Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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