According to a recent estimate, the smartphone industry in India registered 43 million shipments in the quarter ending September 2023, with the sector exhibiting indications of a modest rebound despite a 3% year-on-year fall in sales.

According to Canalys research, Samsung maintained its top position in Q3 2023 with a market share of 18%, shipping 7.9 million devices, while Xiaomi surged to the second place with 7.6 million shipments, propelled by its inexpensive 5G models.

According to the survey, Vivo placed third with 7.2 million devices delivered, while Realme and Oppo (excluding OnePlus) finished fourth and fifth with 5.8 million and 4.4 million units shipped, respectively.

In Q3, smartphone brands strategically promoted their festive product lineup, with a strong emphasis around budget-friendly 5G options,” said Sanyam Chaurasia, Senior Analyst at Canalys.

According to Chaurasia, most companies started the quarter with better inventory positions, with the entry-level sector seeing a jump in demand owing to mass-market 5G devices. According to him, both Xiaomi and Realme achieved success with their low-cost 5G devices, notably via online outlets.

Motorola, Infinix, and Tecno also drove limited volume through their new affordable 5G devices, as the market steadily transitions toward a dominant presence of 5G-enabled smartphones,” Chaurasia said.

According to Canalys, the premium market has continued to rise strongly, fueled by Samsung’s S23 series and older-generation Apple iPhones on sale over the holiday season.

Despite good indications of recovery, the top five brands saw a year-on-year reduction, but the other businesses remained resilient and steadied total market shipments, according to Chaurasia.

Brands such as OnePlus, Infinix, Tecno, and Motorola witnessed strong growth mainly due to expanding channel presence, increased offerings, and few carried positive momentum from the chip shortage period of 2021,” he said, adding that the current challenges have made it tough for brands to preserve market share, manage inventory, and maintain profitability simultaneously.

For instance, OPPO has shifted focus and is launching higher-priced models to prioritize profit margins over volume while Samsung has streamlined its portfolio across price bands,” he said.

According to Chaurasia’s forecast for 2024, the path to recovery would be hampered by global economic worries, notably harming the vulnerable entry-level category. He encouraged businesses to focus on channel pressure reduction and establishing a lean product range.

They should have ‘hero models’ in each price segment while maintaining balanced inventories across channels,” Chaurasia said.