Over 54% of All Smartphones Shipped in India During 2023 Were 5G Enabled: Budget-Minded Consumers Fuel the Growth

The demand for 5G smartphones in India has dramatically increased in recent years, with a plethora of new launches in 2023. Interestingly, the country shipped 79 million units of 5G smartphones in 2023, representing a whopping 54.1% of the total shipments during the year.

In the broader context of India’s smartphone market, the overall shipments reached 146 million smartphones in 2023, with a nominal 1% YoY growth, according to the latest data from International Data Corporation (IDC). Notably, the second half of 2023 showcased impressive momentum, witnessing an 11% YoY growth in smartphone shipments. This robust performance in the latter part of the year effectively compensated for the sharp decline of 10% YoY recorded in the first half.

More specifically, the holiday quarter accounted for more than 25% of India’s total smartphone shipments in 2023, totalling 37 million units. The shipments in Q4 2023 increased a phenomenal 26% YoY.

Surge in Demand for 5G Smartphones in India

India is fast moving towards a premiumization trend in the smartphone sector. The Average Selling Price (ASP) of smartphones surged 14% YoY to a record of US$255 in 2023. Notably, this was the third consecutive year of double-digit growth in ASP, which has posed a constraint on the overall recovery of the smartphone market.

The rise in smartphone ASP in India is primarily fueled by the growing demand for premium smartphones priced above US$600+, resulting in an increased share of the premium segment from just 6% in 2022 to 10% in 2023. Additionally, the rapid adoption of 5G smartphones in India played a pivotal role, accounting for a record 54% share of the total market.

However, 5G smartphones are no longer about the premium that is perceived as out of reach. In a noteworthy shift, the average selling price of 5G smartphones in India dropped 5% YoY in 2023 to US$374. Within the 5G category, the share of the mass budget (US$100<US200) segment increased to 35% in 2023 from 22% in 2022, while the entry-premium (US$200<US$400) segment maintained its dominance, albeit with a reduced share of 38% in 2023, down from 49% in 2022. This evolving market trend underscores the industry’s commitment to making advanced technologies, including 5G, more inclusive and accessible for a wider range of consumers in India.

Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy A14, Vivo T2x and Xiaomi Redmi12 were India’s highest-shipped 5G smartphones in 2023.

In India’s premium smartphone category, close to a million foldable phones were shipped in 2023, with the ASP declining 4% YoY to US$1,236. Samsung maintained its dominant position in the foldable phone market with a whopping 73% market share in 2023.

On the other hand, India’s feature phone segment resurged in 2023 after four consecutive years of declining shipments. The country shipped 61 million units of feature phones last year, with 8% YoY growth.

“Most brands chose to reduce prices and offer additional channel margins in the last quarter to manage the inventory levels from post festive cyclic dip. This will give a lukewarm start to 2024 with cautious stocking by the channels,” said Upasana Joshi, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

Key Highlights: India Smartphone Shipments 2023

  • Smartphone shipments through online channels in India fell 6% YoY in 2023, with the share falling to 49% from 53% in 2022.
  • Offline channel smartphone shipments in India grew 8% YoY in 2023. This growth can be attributed to vendors bolstering their retail presence with lucrative premium offerings and expanding their reach into smaller towns and cities.
  • India’s entry-level smartphone segment (sub-US$100) grew 12% YoY in 2023, accounting for a significant 20% share of the total smartphone market. Xiaomi maintained its leading position in this segment, with POCO and Samsung following closely as the second and third leading brands, respectively.
  • The share of the mass budget smartphone segment (US$100<US$200) declined to 44% in 2023 from 51% in 2022. This was mainly due to the 12% YoY decline in shipments during the period. vivo, Realme and Samsung together accounted for 53% of the total shipments within this segment.
  • The entry-premium segment (US$200<US$400) accounted for a 21% share of the total smartphone market in India in 2023. Interestingly, Vivo and OnePlus collectively dominated this price segment, contributing to almost 40% of the overall shipments.
  • The shipments in the mid-premium smartphone segment (US$400<US$600) increased 27% YoY in 2023. The segment accounted for a 5% share of India’s total smartphone market. OnePlus is leading with a 35% share, followed by Samsung and Vivo.
  • Shipments in India’s premium segment (US$600<US$800) grew 23% YoY in 2023, propelled by iPhone 13, Galaxy S23/S23 FE, and OnePlus 11. This segment secured a 3% share of the total smartphone market.
  • The super-premium segment (US$800+) registered the highest growth of 86% YoY in shipments during 2023. This surge led to an increased market share, reaching 7%, compared to 4% in 2022. Apple dominated the super-premium segment with an overwhelming 68% share, while Samsung secured the second position with a notable 30% share.

India’s smartphone market has witnessed a period of either decline or stagnation in terms of shipments following the Covid-19 pandemic. Looking forward to 2024, the market is expected to show a flat to low single-digit annual growth. This growth trajectory is anticipated to be primarily steered by upgraders in the (US$200<US$400) segment, supported by financing schemes, extended warranties, and upgrade programs. Apple is capitalizing on the premiumization trend, while the Android market is bustling with diverse players introducing competitive offerings such as 5G and foldable devices to entice Indian consumers.


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