Apple tops India smartphone market in revenue share in 2023; Samsung in volumes

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New Delhi: iPhone maker Apple led India market with highest revenue in 2023 for the first time while Samsung topped the chart in terms of sales volume, market research firm Counterpoint Research said on Wednesday.

While India's smartphone shipments remained flat in 2023 at 152 million units, Samsung and Chinese mobile phone makers Vivo and Oppo were able to grow their shares, according to Counterpoint's Monthly India Smartphone Tracker report.

"Apple's focus on India is also aiding the trend, with the brand surpassing the 10-million-unit mark in shipments and capturing the top position in revenue in a calendar year for the first time, propelled by robust demand for both its latest and older iPhones.

"The opening of own retail stores and increasing focus on large-format retail through regular promotions contributed to increased offline shipments," Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research Shubham Singh said.

Vivo followed Samsung with 17 per cent market share in terms of volume.

"The first half of the year was challenging due to ongoing macroeconomic turbulence leading to low demand and an inventory build-up. The market started recovering in the second half of the year supported by 5G upgrades and better-than-expected festive sales," the report said.

Market share of Chinese smartphone players Xioami slipped to third spot from top position in volume market share. The company's market share fell to 16.5 per cent in 2023 from 20.3 per cent a year ago.

The Indian smartphone market in the December 2023 quarter, however, grew by 25 per cent on a year-on-year basis on account growth in the premium segment and 5G upgrades.

"India's smartphone market grew in Q4 2023 after declining for a year. The elongated festive season further aided this growth, as the availability of steep discounts, easy financing schemes and lucrative promotions boosted demand," Counterpoint Research Senior Research Analyst Shilpi Jain said.

She said 5G smartphone shipment share crossed 52 per cent in 2023 with 66 per cent growth on a YoY basis.

"The last quarter (October-December) exited the market with healthy inventory levels compared to last year, setting the right tone for growth for next year. We believe the market will grow by 5 per cent YoY next year driven by premiumization, diffusion of 5G in lower price bands and better macroeconomic conditions," Jain said.

In the December 2023 quarter, Xiaomi held top position with 18.3 per cent share while Vivo is estimated to be in second spot with 17.3 per cent share, followed by Samsung with 16.8 per cent share, Realme 11.5 per cent and Oppo 9.5 per cent share.

Smartphone makers have increased focus on premium devices, which has been driving growth in their business.

The premium segment, devices priced above Rs 30,000, witnessed a 64 per cent YoY growth in 2023 driven by easy financing schemes, which resulted in consumers jumping price bands to purchase higher-priced smartphones.

"One out of every three smartphones was purchased through financing in 2023," the report said.

Counterpoint expects foldable smartphones will also become more popular in the premium segment as more companies come up with foldable devices.

"We believe that foldable shipments will cross the 1-million milestone in 2024," the report said.

Counterpoint expects a growing trend of audio-video enhancements in smartphones, powered by features like dolby atmos, dolby vision and dolby vision recording in 2024.

OnePlus grew by 33 per cent YoY in 2023 driven by offline expansion and better product portfolio in the affordable premium segment which comprises devices in the price range of Rs 30,000-45,000.

Transsion brands grew by 31 per cent YoY mainly driven by a hybrid channel strategy, focus on bringing premium features to the affordable segment and strong presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

The only home-grown smartphone brand Lava grew by 36 per cent. Google and Motorola grew by 111 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.