India's smartphone shipments declined 11% year-on-year to 45 million units in the July-September quarter, dragged down by the high base last year and weak demand in the entry-tier and budget segments, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.

Apple led the premium segment, followed by Samsung and OnePlus. The iPhone maker reached its highest ever shipment share in India and iPhone 13 became the top smartphone model in Q3 2022, a first for Apple in India, says Shilpi Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint.

"After the 5G network rollout, consumers are quite keen on purchasing 5G smartphones, especially the upgrading users. In Q3 2022, 5G smartphones registered 31% YoY growth and contributed to 32% of the total shipments," says Jain, adding that the sub ₹10,000 price band continues to be under pressure due to lower consumer demand and contributed to 27% of the total shipments, down from 31% a year ago.

Xiaomi led the Indian smartphone market, though its shipments declined 19% YoY. Weak consumer demand in the entry tier was the major factor behind this decline, says Counterpoint.

However, new launches during the quarter in the budget and mid-tier segments drove Xiaomi's shipments and the brand managed to maintain its top position in the market. In the sub-₹20,000 price band, Xiaomi was the top 5G smartphone brand, the report says.

Samsung held the second spot in Q3 2022. It was the only smartphone brand among the top five to register an annual growth. Aggressive online channel stock replenishment before the festive season with attractive promotions and offers led to this growth, says Counterpoint.

Vivo captured the third position even as its shipments declined 15% YoY. Realme remained at the fourth spot in the July-September quarter, capturing a 14% share.

Apple reached its highest ever share of 5% in India's smartphone market during the quarter driven by a strong channel push ahead of the festive season.

"Consumer demand started increasing in August and peaked in the last week of September during the festive sales, especially in the mid-tier and premium segments. However, as the market exited Q2 2022 with high inventory, and there was modest demand in the entry-tier and budget segments, we saw less than expected shipments during Q3 2022. Almost all the brands were impacted, especially in the entry-tier and budget segments," says Prachir Singh, senior research analyst at Counterpoint.

"The unfavourable macroeconomic conditions will continue to affect the Indian smartphone market in Q4 2022 as well, especially after Diwali. However, we may witness a demand uptick during the year-end sales," Singh says.

India's mobile handset market — including both smartphones and feature phones — declined 15% YoY in Q3 2022. The feature phone market registered a decline of 24% YoY due to adverse macroeconomic conditions continuing to impact the bottom-of-the-pyramid users, says the report.

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