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India sees huge uptick in Q1 2021 smartphone shipments, but a storm's coming

Sub-$200 smartphones could reportedly see a price hike later this year as well.

Published onApril 28, 2021

Redmi Note 10 top down shot showing rear panel
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • India’s Q1 2021 smartphone shipments reportedly grow 11% over Q1 2020.
  • Xiaomi enjoyed a significant lead, but all of the top brands maintained or grew their shipments.
  • Smartphone shipments in India are expected to plunge in Q2 2021 though.

India is arguably the most competitive market in the world when it comes to smartphones, with the mid-range segment in particular being a fierce battleground. Now, the first marketshare report for Q1 2021 is in and it looks like almost all the major brands recorded increased shipments.

Market-tracking company Canalys listed Xiaomi, Samsung, and Vivo as the top three smartphone companies by marketshare in India during the quarter. OPPO and realme rounded out the top five according to the research firm.

Xiaomi saw modest year-on-year shipment growth of 2%, with its marketshare growth declining from 31% to 28%. Meanwhile, Samsung managed to hold steady with 19% marketshare, but saw its actual shipments grow 11% over Q1 2020. Third-placed vivo only saw shipments grow by 1%, with its share of shipments declining 2%. OPPO was the best performer in the top five in terms of growth, achieving a 35% year-on-year spike.

Taken together, the tracking firm noted that India’s Q1 2021 shipments grew 11% year-on-year, from 33.5 million units shipped in Q1 2020 to 37.1 million units shipped in Q1 2021. There is bad news afoot for the next quarter though.

More reading: The best phones under Rs 20,000 in India

Canalys expects smartphone shipments to plunge in Q2 2021, as a major wave of COVID-19 grips India. The company suggests that regional lockdowns could hinder the transport and distribution of raw materials used for production, as well as devices. But the firm is also expecting more bad news for Indian consumers later in 2021.

“A combination of the ongoing supply crunch on key imported components and a weaker rupee will make it increasingly difficult for vendors to maintain margins at current price levels,” Canalys analyst Varun Kannan was quoted as saying. He added that this will hit the sub-$200 (~Rs 15,000) segment hard, saying it accounted for over 80% of the market in 2020.

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