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Chinese vendors gain city traction

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According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) monthly city level smartphone tracker, the Tier 1 cities namely – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kolkata accounted for 26,4% of the entire smartphone market in Q1 2016 as compared to 29,9% in Q4 2015 clearly indicating that the smartphone market is gradually deepening towards Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
According to Navkendar Singh, senior research manager at IDC India: “As Tier 1 markets saturate, the next growth frontiers for smartphone players are clearly the smaller cities and towns.
“China-based vendors have understood this trend and are gradually building and investing significantly in the offline distribution network in Tier 2 cities and beyond. This really shows that the offline channel remains significant and the vendors have understood that offline must go hand in hand with the online channel.”
China-based vendors have already captured more than 20% of the smartphone market in 25 Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India and are expected to penetrate further as their offline presence increases.
“The majority of the sales for the China-based vendors like Lenovo, Motorola, Xiaomi, LeEco are still coming from the online channel in these cities due to their superior positioning as quality brands, with a value for money proposition.
“Others like Oppo and Vivo are expected to grow in coming months in these markets with their huge marketing spends and increasing retail presence,” adds Singh.
Customers across the city tiers are getting future ready, by choosing more 4G than 3G devices, with more than 65 percent of the smartphones being 4G compatible across all city tiers. Also, with telecom operators gradually increasing the 4G footprint and promoting 4G services, this is expected to see exponential growth in coming months.
“In Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, China based vendors are eating into the 4G device share of global brands, with almost 40 percent of the demand being generated by them,” says Varum Singh, market analyst: channels at IDC India. “This is a clear indication of the acceptance of said brands in these markets with their affordable and quality smartphones” adds Singh.
Price parity between offline and online channels has been a constant concern for the traditional distribution channel.
“While online exclusive models will continue to generate demand, the new government regulations forbidding the predatory pricing and dominance by a few sellers on the e-commerce marketplace will help in bringing back the pricing hygiene across channels and a level playing ground for all brands,” says Upasana Joshi, senior market analyst: channels in IDC India.
Samsung continues to dominate the market space amongst top 30 cities, with 29,7% share in Q12016 with more than 70% of sales coming from J-Series.
Micromax maintains second position in Q1 2016 with 13,1% share. While, it continues to face stiff competition in the below $100 price band from other Indian vendors, with the new product launches planned in 2016, it is expected to pick up demand in the coming quarters.
Lenovo (including Motorola) retains third position in Q1 2016 with an overall share of 12,1% having gained share from last quarter owing to an increased demand pull from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. With the launch of “K4 Note” which is not just an upgrade to its predecessor K3 Note, it is also offers several new features like VR Technology and a finger print scanner at sub $200 price point.
Intex, at fourth position with a share of 9,3%, is amongst the most popular brands in smaller towns and is growing further with its varied range of entry and mid-level smartphones in price bracket of below $100 & $100-200 price bands.
Apple continues to significantly dominate the above $300 price segment with a share of 52,3% in Q1 2016 with its price discounts for iPhone 6, 6s and 5s.
Brands like Oppo, Vivo, Le Eco, Reliance Jio are gaining traction in Q12016 with new product launches, aggressive marketing spends and enhanced channel presence.