Indian Smartphone Market Likely to See 40% Recovery in Second Half of 2020: Report

After going through disruptions in supply chain and curtailed domestic production, the India smartphone market is now showing encouraging signs of revival that sets it on a potential course for market recovery for over 40 per cent in the second half this year, according to a new report. Over the short-term, the mobile market will improve in mid-Q3, spurred by early online sales festivals, setting the smartphone market on a potential path to recovery towards the all-important festive season.

During this period, smartphone brands will focus on showcasing their consumer-centric value propositions, focusing more on hyperlocal delivery models, and launching more 5G-ready smartphones, according to market research firm CMR’s ‘India Mobile Handset Market Review Report.’ CMR’s current estimates point to better performance for the India smartphone market in H2 2020, with the market anticipated to recover by more than 40 per cent in comparison to the first half.

“As a consequence of the pandemic, Q2 2020 was, in essence, a lost quarter. While the mobile handset industry faced multiple challenges with respect to their supply and demand-side dynamics, the industry looks set on the path to a potential recovery in the coming months,” said Amit Sharma, Manager-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR. The initial consumer demand in the unlock phase was driven predominantly through online channels and driven by a need for urgent replacements.

“Facing up to the pandemic, smartphone brands debuted innovative hyperlocal delivery models, some of which have the potential to gain permanence,” Sharma added. The path to potential recovery will be led by pent-up consumer demand, driven by a need for upgrades. In the run-up to the festive season, consumers will seek to go for meaningful value propositions that bring devices and compelling content ecosystem offerings, together.

“This, coupled by smartphone brands bringing more value for money offerings and backed by aggressive messaging, will potentially drive the market,” said Sharma. Thus far, a key challenge for the smartphone market in India to grow has been the inability to offer value propositions that will help feature phone users to migrate to smartphones. “We believe recent announcements, such as the Jio-Google deal, augur well for the future of the mobile handset industry in India, and in potentially enabling the migration of feature phones to smartphone users, with its focus on driving affordability,” said analyst Anand Priya Singh.

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Indian Consumers Don't Care About Megapixels As Much As Brands Do

The megapixel war unleashed by the smartphone makers which focuses primarily on rear cameras is unlikely to win them many customers in the India market as people here are more concerned about the quality of their selfie camera, suggests a new survey on Saturday. While it is true that cameras are the number one consideration for consumers while buying a new smartphone, 79 percent of the consumers in the sub-Rs 30,000 price band believe that image quality is not dependent on the number of megapixels, said the survey by CyberMedia Research (CMR). In fact, 60 percent of smartphone users, in the price band of Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000, feel the front camera is more important than rear camera, according to the “CMR Insights on the Go Survey”.

“What the survey insights provide us with, is a compelling picture of a classic conundrum. While smartphone brands focus on increasing the megapixel capabilities of the rear camera, consumer priorities, in the sub-30k segment, are elsewhere,” Prabhu Ram, Head- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, said in a statement.

“Consumers believe that image quality is not dependent on megapixels. For them, the selfie should be picture-perfect, and that’s what really matters,” he added. Smartphones in the sub-Rs 30,000 price band constitute one of the most prominent price segments where 85 percent of India’s consumers make their smartphone purchase. About 64 percent of the consumers in the survey said they feel the front camera is more important than the rear camera. Interestingly, one in every three users stated the poor quality of the front camera as a dissatisfaction factor with their smartphone. When it comes to taking selfies in low light conditions, smartphone users are generally not satisfied with the results.

They believe smartphone brands should bring innovations that make the selfie picture-perfect, under all conditions. The survey involved 600 smartphone owners across top six Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Indian Consumers Don’t Care About Megapixels As Much As Brands Do


Smartphone Shipments in India to Decline by 12% in 2020; 5G Phones Capture 2% Share

As smartphone brands face a state of uncertainty as both supply and demand has been diminished in India, the industry will bear the maximum brunt in the second quarter (April-June period), leaving the sector with at least 11-12 per cent overall decline in shipments for the entire 2020, a new report said on Thursday.

According to CMR’s ‘India Mobile Handset Market Review Report for Q1 2020’, the total smartphone shipments in India in the March quarter grew a mere 4 per cent (year-on-year). The first wave of 5G smartphones hit the market, accounting for 2 per cent of the overall smartphone shipments in Q1 2020. The smartphone market grew modestly on the back of good consumer demand before the onset of COVID-19 hit the market.

“Going forward, we remain cautious about the speed of recovery in India’s smartphone market this year. We are keeping a close tab on the macroeconomic factors and how it plays out from here on. Our best-case scenario suggests a decline of 11-12% in overall smartphone shipments for 2020,” said Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.

At the beginning of the year, COVID-19 was merely a supply-side challenge confined to China and smartphone brands in India were able to tide over the initial wave of the crisis with enough inventory supplies.

“However, as COVID-19 cases in India crossed the 500 marks in late March, India went into a complete lockdown. For smartphone brands, this has put both supplies as well as demand in a state of uncertainty. Q2 2020 will be where the industry will face the brunt of the pandemic and test the resilience of smartphone brands,” Ram elaborated.

Faced with personal and economic uncertainties, consumer spending will remain muted for the better part of the year,” according to Anand Priya Singh, Analyst- Industry Intelligence Group, CMR.

“Unless absolutely necessary, such as replacing a mobile phone, consumers may choose to conserve. However, we expect the market to recover lost ground in the run-up to the festive season,” Singh added.

Xiaomi (30 per cent), Vivo (17 per cent) and Samsung (16 per cent) rounded off the top three spots in Q1 2020. Realme and IQOO launched their first 5G smartphones, with the Realme X50 Pro accounting for the bulk of the 5G shipments. The feature phone segment declined 20 per cent (YoY) primarily due to the migration of consumers from feature phones to smartphone segment.