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 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 mark in late March, India went into a complete lockdown. For smartphone brands, this has put both supply 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 bulk of the 5G shipments. The feature phone segment declined 20 per cent (YoY) primarily due to migration of consumers from feature phones to smartphone segment.