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Indians bought 17 lakh more Chinese phones this October than October 2019 despite Galwan

Estimates of online sales of smartphones show Indians primarily shopped from five brands this October, including 4 Chinese companies Xiaomi, Vivo, realme and Oppo.

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New Delhi: Data on online smartphone shopping has shown that Indians bought 17 lakh more Chinese devices this October than they did last year. This despite calls to boycott Chinese products and support ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ amid the ongoing tensions between India and China at the Line of Actual Control and the Indian government banning over 200 Chinese apps.

Tech market analyst firm IDC, that looked at both the online and offline sales figures, said:  “… India’s smartphone market registered a massive year-over-year (YoY) growth of 42% in October, shipping 21 million units. The growth was driven by multiple online sale festivals and continuing pent up demand from 3Q20.”

An executive at a leading smartphone market analyst firm, who requested anonymity, shared estimates for how many phones the top fives mobile brands in India sold online during October 2019 and October 2020.

Of these, four are Chinese — Xiaomi, Vivo, realme and Oppo.

In October 2019, these Chinese brands sold an estimated 46.07 lakh smartphones. Fast forward a year, and the sales jumped by nearly 17 lakh to 63.01 lakh smartphones.

These numbers were calculated based on the figures shared by the smartphone market analyst.

Graphic by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint
Graphic by Ramandeep Kaur | ThePrint

The estimates show that consumer trends didn’t take a hit from the boycott calls that emerged in June after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash with Chinese soldiers. Among those supporting the boycott was Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. In June, the government banned the first tranche of Chinese apps, adding to the list over the months.

As it stands, October saw two prominent and heavily promoted online sales from Amazon and Flipkart to coincide with the festive shopping season.

While Amazon held its ‘Great Indian Festival sale’ from 16 October to 13 November, offering discounts up to 70 per cent, Flipkart held its flagship ‘Big Billion Days sale’ from 16 to 21 October.

This year’s ‘Great Indian Festival’ was one of the longest Amazon has held, according to a Times of India report. Flipkart said it saw double the number of customers visiting its mobile category during the sale.

Also read: India working to restrict Chinese goods, investments since before Galwan, Covid: Officials

Estimates in line with market trend

Adwait Mardikar, an analyst at a tech market intelligence firm Canalys, told ThePrint that the figures for October 2019 and October 2020 appear to be fairly logical based on the sales data for the third quarters of 2019 and 2020.

“Third quarter is the months of June, July, and September. It is reasonable to assume that not too much has changed in terms of purchasing decisions from June-September moving to October,” he added.

Analyst firms typically publicly share smartphone shipment figures for every quarter, but not the sales figures for every month. In some cases, the monthly smartphone sales figures are a paid feature analyst firms offer to paying clients.

Shipments and sales figures differ since ‘shipments’ are the number of devices sent to retail channels to be sold to end consumers. Not all shipped merchandise gets sold, according to a Business Insider report.

Also read: Reader View: India depends on China in many ways, to disregard that isn’t a smart decision

How the top 5 brands compare 

Analyst firms IDC, Canalys and Counterpoint Research all list Xiaomi, Samsung, realme, Vivo and Oppo as the top 5 brands in India that together corner 88-94 per cent of the country’s smartphone market share.

Of this, the four Chinese brands — Xiaomi, realme, Vivo and Oppo — account for 69-73 per cent of the market share, according to the latest numbers from the three analyst firms.

However the estimated market share of each brand differs marginally from one firm’s analysis to the next.

For instance, Canalys says Xiaomi held top market share in the third quarter of 2020 with 26.1 per cent, followed by Samsung at 20.4%.

Counterpoint Research, though, shows Samsung as the top brand in Q3 this year with 24 per cent of the market share, followed by Xiaomi with 23 per cent.

Also read: Only 4 out of 10 Indians won’t buy Chinese phone, finds survey conducted before Galwan clash


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  1. Narayana Murthy once said, Indians are only talkers and not doers. this behavior proves that. Chinese CCP must be laughing out loud

  2. Hmmm not a complete representation. I think the data is being manipulated to let down the morale of Indians and their armed forces. Please re-do this article by showing % of chinese mobile phones in total sales in both periods i.e october 2019 & october 2020. Has that % fallen post galwan? That would be a more accurate analysis of data. Over here the attempt is to highlight an increase in chinese phone sales, but what about corresponding increase in other brands? please re-do this article with % share comparison. Then, if you are right, everyone on this message board should concede that we, and all of us, are a shameless people!

  3. This is how teaching of fake history and a free run to proselytizers have destroyed the pride for INDIA and made a huge propaganda machine of left wing radicals supported by church and jihadist very effecient for anti HINDU rhetoric . It will take time to ensure TRUTH filters through the majority.

  4. Historically, people have never been 100% nationalist at boycotting totally trades in goods and services belonging to hostile countries. Phenomena like stealing, back-stabbing, non-patriotic behavior, counter-espionage, profiteering, smuggling or price-gouging take place all the time, particularly in difficult times when a nation is in crisis. In war zones, sometimes, arms supplied to one side end up in the hands of the other side. It’s true, as the previous commentator said, that it’s not the “Indians” alone who should be accused of buying the Chinese devices, but the middle-men business brokers, the banias, who facilitated these sales in India for profit. However, in a country of 1.3 billion, if 17 lakh consumers went in for ‘cheap buying,’ it shouldn’t be that alarming. Nationalism, patriotism or even ‘citizen-awakening’ can’t be expected from all Indians. Just notice, in educated and well-to-do neighborhoods of New Delhi-NOIDA area, for example, people buy in huge quantity fire crackers made in China against government pollution advisory. Indians must be trained in healthy nationalism and citizenship-awareness from their childhood.

  5. All these talk about buying Chinese phones and patriotism of the Indians is useless talk. It indicates nothing. As the reason is the intellectual laziness and short term memory of the consumers. If Made in China was prominently displayed next to the image of the product in the top of the page I am sure the sales of Chinese phones would have been lower. Also, most of the Chinese companies mentioned have their manufacturing base in India as well and many of the less than 10k models are most probably produced in India. Whereas most of the Indian companies have their manufacturing base in China. When I was hunting for few items like electric kettle and was particular about not buying a Chinese product. To my horror – Bajaj, Maharajah, VGuard and for countless other Indian companies the country of origin was China. So how does it make any difference whether we buy Chinese company phone or Indian company product.

  6. Deshbhakti and everything is just on social media and only for dikhawa ho halla in reality idiots will always choose their leisureness and comfort and economical they want everything in pennies and will always think themselves first not country not self reliance or atleast make less dominance of chinese products in our market 70% brands whose business is good or are in market is of chinese only kam se kam jo paisa khrch krlete h wohi chod de is chinese brands ke lobh ko kam se kam is 70% ko 40-50% hi krdo bahut ho jaega har samay har kisiko sasta chahiye

  7. Why don’t the sales figure comparison and the % growth of Indian made phones are not given then only we will know the real picture.

  8. The thing is that Samsung has improved by 50% compared with last year. From losing market share to gaining. There are mostly Chinese brands under INR 10 000 so consumer cannot be blamed but where there is choice…Chinese have lost market share.

  9. Government is fooling people .And the buyers of Chinese products are senseless I think . instead of boycotting Chinese products They are more coming in .

  10. This is a failure of big proportion with our chalta hain attitude on full display.

    Money talks and people have chosen luxury over nation. Which makes you go back in time.

    The answer never mind is the same attitude for over 1000 years of enslavement.

  11. This statement that “Indians bought 17-lakh more Chinese phones this October despite Galwan” doesn’t revel the complete truth. The better truth is “Indian traders” forced 17-lakh Chinese mobile phones on fellow Indians. Why cannot Indian traders deal with the Chinese? Why cannot BCCI say no to advertisements from Chinese phone-makers? These are the same traders who blindly support BJP/RSS and trumpet nationalistic slogans and accuse all minorities, dalits as anti-nationals for whatever they do. These same traders then deal with Chinese companies surreptitiously and then this news comes that “Indians bought 17-lakh Chinese phones”. Don’t accuse Indians. Accuse these baniyas, the blind bhakts of BJP/RSS.

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