After several years of growth, the India smartphone market exited 2020 at 150 million (15 crore) units, a 1.7 per cent (year-over-year) decline, the International Data Corporation (IDC) revealed. The online channel outpaced the overall market, growing by 12 per cent annually with a 48 per cent market share in 2020.
However, in the pre-Diwali weeks of October and November, retail footfall gradually picked up the pace, as the offline channel registered 5 per cent (YoY) growth in the festive quarter, according to IDC's 'Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker'.
The festive quarter (October-December) posted record smartphone shipments of 45 million devices, with 21 per cent (YoY) growth.
According to Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India, the rebound of the smartphone market in the latter half of 2020 underscores the importance of devices in our day-to-day lives.
"In 2021, IDC expects the smartphone market to grow in high single-digit YoY, driven majorly by upgrading consumers, in the mid-range segment and affordable 5G offerings ($250)," Singh said in a statement.
Also, revamped offline channel play is anticipated, to bring back growth in the very important brick and mortar counters for long term sustainability, he added.
While smartphone shipments for the full year 2020 remained below the pre-pandemic level, IDC believes a stronger market acceleration in 2021 will be led by upgraders.
MediaTek processor-based smartphone shipments led with a share of 43 per cent, closely followed by Qualcomm at 40 per cent in 2020. MediaTek expanded its lead in the $200 price segments.
5G smartphone shipments crossed 3 million in 2020, with Chinese OEMs rolling out aggressively-priced devices through 2020.
However, the adoption was limited by higher prices and the lack of a 5G network, which is expected to start to roll out in late 2021 or early 2022.
"As more 5G devices enter in 2021, the ASP for smartphones is expected to rise. IDC expects vendors to launch 5G devices at multiple price points backed by aggressive promotions, as 5G currently remains a novelty rather than a necessity to most," said Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.