India smartphone market suffers highest ever Q1 decline at 19%

India’s smartphone shipments declined 19 per cent (year-on-year) to reach over 31 million units in the first quarter of 2023, the highest ever Q1 drop, a report said on Thursday. Q1 2023 (January-March) was the third consecutive quarter to see a decline in India’s smartphone shipments, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. With a 20 per cent share, Samsung led the Indian smartphone market for the second consecutive quarter. It was also the top 5G brand. “We are observing a change in consumer behaviour, demand is now concentrated around promotional periods. The beginning of the quarter saw a surge in demand across channels around the Republic Day sales period,” said senior research analyst Shilpi Jain. “We believe these situations will remain similar in Q2 2023 as well with growth coming back in the second half of the year owing to faster 5G upgrades, easing macroeconomic pressure and festive season,” Jain added. This was the highest ever Q1 decline seen by India’s smartphone market, besides being the third consecutive quarterly decline. Sluggish demand, high inventory build-up carried over from 2022, growing consumer preference for refurbished phones and pessimistic channel view of the market contributed to this decline. “Premiumisation trend is becoming stronger with each passing quarter. The premium segment’s share almost doubled in Q1 2023 compared to Q1 2022. Affordability is the key here as we saw more financial schemes being launched,” senior research analyst Prachir Singh. “This segment is suffering declining demand due to an elongated replacement period, declining feature phone-to-smartphone migration and lower presence of hero models,” Singh added. The quarter’s silver lining came from 5G smartphones, whose contribution (43 per cent) crossed 40 per cent for the first time, registering 23 per cent YoY growth as consumers kept upgrading to 5G devices. vivo maintained its second position in Q1 202