Indian handset makers for the very first time have been pushed out of the top five smartphone player rankings in the fourth quarter, mainly due to demonetization, according research agencies like IDC, Counterpoint and Canalys. Indian vendors like Micromax, Lava and Karbonn were hit the most due to demonetisation, with a drop of 37.2% in Nov 2016 across top 50 cities of India as compared to China based vendors with 26.5% drop and Global vendors with 30.5% drop over previous month, IDC said in a report.
According to IDC, smartphone sales in India's top 50 cities fell by over 30% in November, compared to October. "Demonetisation has impacted the smartphone market at almost all levels including the customer demand and stock movement in the distribution channels. The slowdown was seen across all city tiers, with a de-growth of 31.7 percent in Tier 1 cities and 29.5 percent in tier 2,3 & 4 cities in Nov 2016 over Oct 2016," said Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India.
Counterpoint, in a separate report, said that the overall smartphone market share of home-bred handset makers plunged to 20% in the quarter ending December 31 from 54% share during the same period last year.
Singapore-based Canalys’ analyst Rushabh Doshi said that local brands’ target customers typically buy in cash and from independent retailers. With the short-term liquidity crunch caused by demonetization, these retailers are suffering a slowdown in consumer spending. Local vendors are losing out as retailers look to shift their stock to fast-moving, current devices.
Counterpoint, in a statement, said that while the demonetization had its impact on the local players, it will be unfair to take credit from Chinese players that continue to expand their presence throughout India, riding on aggressive portfolio strategies and substantial marketing spends.
Counterpoint said that demonetization widened the usual seasonal decline from estimated 12% to 19% year on year.
Chinese brands OPPO, Vivo, Lenovo and Xiaomi continued to grow at the expense of Samsung and Indian brands. The share of Chinese smartphone brands went up to 46% in the fourth quarter of 2016 calendar year, against just
14% in a year earlier period, Counterpoint data suggested. Counterpoint said that November 2016 saw Chinese brand share reach an all-time high, accounting for 51% of the total smartphone market.
Apple achieved a landmark, crossing 2.5 Million units in a calendar year, with a 1/3 of its total shipment coming alone from the record fourth quarter driven by seasonality and the launch of iPhone 7, Counterpoint said.
It added that Apple captured 10th position in the smartphone rankings during the quarter, and led the premium segment (above US$450) with 62% market share.