Even the second largest smartphone market in the world is not immune to COVID-19.
Smartphone shipments in India declined 48% in the second quarter compared to the same period last year. This was the most drastic decline one of the rarely growing markets has seen in ten years, research firm Canalys reported on Friday evening.
According to the research company, around 17.3 million smartphone devices were delivered in the second quarter of 2020, after 33 million in the second quarter of 2019 and 33.5 million in the first quarter of 2020.
You can blame the corona virus, more than a million cases of which have been reported in India.
New Delhi ordered a nationwide ban in late March to curb the spread of the virus that temporarily shuts down all stores across the country, with the exception of some stores that sell groceries and pharmacies. Even e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart were prohibited from selling smartphones and other items that the government classified as "not essential".
The protracted closure lasted until mid-May. After that, the Indian government believed that other businesses and e-commerce supplies could resume operations in much of the country. The strict measure in New Delhi explains why the Indian smartphone market has fallen so much.
By comparison, China, the world's largest smartphone market, saw only a 18% drop in deliveries in the quarter that ended in March – the period when the country was most affected by the virus. In the first quarter, when India was largely unaffected by the virus, smartphone shipments in the country increased by 4%. (Worldwide smartphone shipments decreased 13% in the first quarter – a number that is expected to improve only marginally and will decrease 12% this year.)
"It was a rocky road to recovery in the smartphone market in India," said Madhumita Chaudhary, analyst at Canalys. "While vendors saw sales increase when the market opened, in addition to the new regulations for manufacturing, the manufacturing facilities had to contend with a shortage of personnel, which resulted in lower production output."
Despite the ban, Xiaomi maintained its dominance in India. The Chinese smartphone provider, which has been the leading smartphone provider in India since the end of 2018, delivered 5.3 million smartphone units in the quarter ending June of this year and, according to Canalys, reached 30.9% of the local market.
With 3.7 million units delivered and a market share of 21.3% in India, Vivo is kept the second place. Samsung, which once dominated the Indian smartphone market and has made major investments in the country in recent months, chose third place with a 16.8% share.
Almost every smartphone provider has launched new cell phones in India in recent weeks to recover from downtime. Further new smartphone product launches are planned for the next month.
For some of these players, however, the virus is not the only obstacle.
Sentiment against China has grown in importance in India in the past few months since more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a military clash in the Himalayas in June. "Boycott China" – and variations on it – are trending in India on Twitter as a number of people have posted videos that destroy smartphones, televisions, and other products made in China. At the end of last month, India also banned 59 apps and services developed by Chinese companies.
Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo, The company is now fourth in India and other Chinese smartphone vendors dominate almost 80% of the smartphone market in India.
Chaudhary of Canalys believes, however, that these smartphone companies will be able to largely avoid the backlash as "alternatives from Samsung, Nokia or even Apple" are hardly competitively priced. "
Apple, which dominates only 1% of the Indian smartphone market, was least affected among the top 10 providers, as iPhone shipments in the second quarter of 2020 decreased only 20% year over year to over 250,000, Canalys said.