NEW DELHI: India’s premium smartphone sector appeared to defy the ongoing economic slowdown trend in most sectors as shipments grew 66 per cent year-on-year to hit a record high in the third quarter of 2019, according to research firm Counterpoint Research. The quarter also saw the launch of more than 20 flagship phone variants, the highest ever in a single quarter.
While OnePlus remained the market leader in the premium, or over Rs 30,000 segment with a share of 35 per cent, followed by Samsung (23 per cent) and Apple (22 per cent), the cumulative share of the top three brands declined to 79 per cent during the quarter under review as compared to 83 per cent a year with the space heating up more than ever with brands such as OPPO, Xiaomi, Vivo and Asus also joining in. The growth in the smartphone segment was driven by new launches, aggressive offers and channel push, ahead of the crucial festive season.
Offers on premium smartphone started well-ahead of the festive season – many in the last week of September with offers ranging from payment plans (EMI), cashback and exchange offers. Of the brands, OnePlus furthered its market dominance growing faster than the segment at 95 per cent year-on-year driven by strong performances of both the 7 and 7T series.
The brand’s widest ever portfolio is also helping it target users looking to upgrade at various price tiers within the all-important premium market. On the other hand, price cuts on older flagships and the launch of the Galaxy Note 10 series helped Samsung to grow 34 per cent annually. Almost half of the nation’s ultra-premium segment (less than equal to Rs 45,000) shipments captured by the Korean major were driven by Galaxy Note 10 series.
Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhone shipments in the premium segment also grew an impressive 45 per cent year-on-year. Following a series of quarters with negative growth, since Q4 2017, Apple managed to record record growth for the last two quarters driven largely by iPhone XR which captured half of Apple’s premium shipments in Q3 2019.
“Price cuts along with strong promotions helped Apple to perform strongly. The iPhone XR was also the second best selling premium smartphone during the quarter,” said Karn Chauhan, research analyst, Counterpoint Research.