India saw an overall decline in smartphone shipments during Q4 of 2022. Q4 is considered a festive quarter due to Diwali, Christmas, and New Year, which brings a lot of discounts and offers for customers. Thus, smartphone shipments during the quarter always go up only. However, for the first time, according to Canalys, smartphone shipments fell in Q4. For the overall 2022, there was a 6% decline in smartphone shipments compared to 2021. As per the research firm, a total of 151.6 million units were shipped in 2022. In Q4, smartphone shipments declined by 27% to 32.4 million.
Canalys said that Samsung took the number one spot in Q4 2022 for the first time since Q3 2017. Samsung shipped a total of 6.7 million units in India during Q4, which was 21% of the market share. Vivo came in at the second position with 6.4 million units, mainly via offline channels. Xiaomi lost its leadership position in Q4 2022 for the first time in 20 quarters. Xiaomi slipped to the third position with 5.5 million units.
Note that the shipments figure of OPPO also includes the shipments of OnePlus, and the percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Also, the shipments of Xiaomi includes the figures of POCO.
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Regardless, Xiaomi was still the leader in India in 2022. OPPO and Realme came in at the fourth and fifth position with 5.4 million and 2.7 million units, respectively. One of the biggest trends that was noticed was that vendors which relied upon online sales channels suffered more than the ones which leaned more towards the offline market.
Sanyam Chaurasia, an analyst at Canalys, said, "India was better positioned to weather the global downturn than other markets. But domestic consumer spending cooled in the last few months of 2022. Even during the festive season, the domestic market suffered a fall in transactions, retail spending and electronic imports. In 2022, consumers already had up-to-date technology that they had bought during the pandemic, thereby delaying further purchases."
Chaurasia added, "Vendors that were focused predominantly on online channels suffered from a poor e-commerce festive sales performance in Q4 2022. Xiaomi aimed to clear out inventory of its older models using the e-commerce channel. But, due to poor e-commerce festive sales performance, Xiaomi and Realme saw significant stockpiling of their products in online channels in Q4 2022. At the same time, in tier-three and tier-four cities, vivo and OPPO focused on offline channels, which helped them to be the only vendors to grow year on year."
The analyst said that the mid-to-high range segment did well in 2022. However, this would further add to the delay in customers upgrading to a new smartphone in the coming years. Premium smartphone vendors are looking to add more years of OS upgrades to their devices. That would mean that customers would stick with their current devices for longer periods.