Offline channels are set to make a comeback in 2021.
Walmart-owned Flipkart dominated the Indian online smartphone market in 2020. The company managed to capture a 48% market for online smartphone shipments in the pandemic year, while Realme and Poco were the leading smartphone brands on Flipkart, with more than 50% of shipments in the market, according to a Counterpoint report. On the other hand, Amazon was the fastest growing online platform with 34% year-over-year (YoY) growth thanks to high shipments from brands such as Xiaomi, Samsung and OnePlus. “Covid has helped here in a way as these online channels have pivoted to ramp up their campaigns during the pandemic, which has helped them,” said Tarun Pathak, associate director of Counterpoint Research at Financial Express Online.
Growing 7% year-on-year, the online smartphone market reached its highest ever share of 45% in the year Covid, which saw a drop in overall market shipments. The change in consumer behavior induced by Covid to shop online has helped online channels increase their shipments. In addition, according to the report, discounts and promotions during the sales and the holiday season, focused on accessibility, have fueled consumer demand. The industry saw pent-up demand in the third quarter of 2020 due to the nearly six-week lockdown in the second quarter. As a result, several brands had aligned their channel strategy with the new standard. According to Counterpoint, Samsung increased its share in online channels to grab second place thanks to strong shipments of the Galaxy M series on Amazon. During the fourth quarter of 2020, Samsung launched the Galaxy F41 on Flipkart to further expand its online share.
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However, Xiaomi has emerged as the number one smartphone brand online thanks to strong shipments of the Redmi Note 8 series and the Redmi 8 series to Amazon and Poco phones on Flipkart. The Xiaomi Redmi 8A Dual was the best smartphone model online in 2020. Realme had also increased its market share to 19% while Vivo was in fourth position and OnePlus reached fifth place in the overall online smartphone market.
Nonetheless, offline channels are expected to make a comeback in 2021, as consumers recover from fear of Covid-19 in the months to come. “In addition, several brands are focused on expanding their reach in the offline market. Big brands online are adopting a hybrid channel strategy and expanding their stores offline. In addition, as smartphone brands move to a more ecosystem-based, multi-device strategy, the focus will be on the consumer experience, which will further increase the offline segment, ”according to the report.
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