India might be under lockdown, but things are not as stagnant as they appear. The Indian smartphone industry, which is busy throughout the year, has met its worst fate and come to a standstill. But the first quarter of 2020 (or almost of it) was business as usual for the smartphone industry in India as we saw new phones launching and people buying them as they normally would.
For a few years now, the Chinese smartphone brands have outgrown Indian OEMs and now we don't have any local manufacturers that even come close to the Chinese rivals. Reliance JioPhone still commands a substantial market share, but that's limited to feature phones. The smartphone industry is where all the action happens and looks like China is ruling it.
China rules India's smartphone market
According to a Canalys report, India's smartphone market had a positive outlook. The shipments were up 12 percent to 33.5 million units despite the coronavirus lockdown, which was only put in place in the last week of March. What's interesting in the report is that Samsung, which had lost its market share to Xiaomi for several consequent quarters, is now left behind by another Chinese smartphone maker.
Vivo came in second in the Q1 2020, ahead of Samsung for the first time. While Xiaomi acquired a market share of 30.6 percent with 10.3 million shipments during the quarter, Vivo shipped 6.7 million units to acquire 19.9 percent share, a marked increase from 15 percent in the same quarter last year.
Samsung, which held 24.4 percent market share in Q1 2019, slipped to 18.9 percent market share by losing 13.7 percent YoY share. The biggest winner, besides Xiaomi and Vivo, is Realme, which recorded 200 percent YoY growth to acquire 11.7 percent market share with 3.9 million smartphone shipments in the quarter.
Oppo came in fifth with 3.5 million shipments, adding up to 10.4 percent market share. It is interesting to see how the Chinese smartphone brands have dominated the Indian smartphone market share - so much that even Samsung is struggling to keep up.
Xiaomi is not the real winner
By individual numbers, it may seem like Xiaomi is the big winner and it is in a lot of ways. But if you consider the fact that three out of top five smartphone brands are owned by one company - BBK Electronics, the whole scenario changes. Vivo, Realme and Oppo are owned by China's BBK Electronics brand, which also owns OnePlus. By combining the market share of these three brands, BBK would rank number one with more than 40 percent market share - leaving a long margin from Xiaomi's 30.6 percent share.