More than half of the smartphones sold online in Q1 2019 were on Flipkart. Amazon, meanwhile, grabbed a lion's share of premium category sales with exclusive partnerships with OnePlus, Samsung, and others.Sohini Mitter
The smartphone segment appears insulated from policy uncertainties surrounding ecommerce companies in India right now. Mobile sales from online channels reached its highest-ever share of 43 percent in the first quarter of 2019, a study by Counterpoint Research reveals.
Flipkart pocketed 53 percent of overall sales, while Amazon grabbed a 36 percent share. The remaining 11 percent went to Xiaomi's Mi Store.
Amazon, however, dominated the premium category (Rs 30,000 and above), accounting for a whopping 81 percent of the sales, riding on flagship launches from OnePlus, Samsung, and Apple. Flipkart, on the other hand, accounted for 17 percent of premium category sales.
Amazon was also the fastest-growing, registering an increase of 38 percent since the first quarter of 2018. The platform witnessed high sales for Redmi 6A, Samsung’s online exclusive M series, and OnePlus 6T - all Amazon exclusives.
Xiaomi’s Note 6 and 7 series, Samsung’s online exclusive M series, Realme 3, HONOR 10 Lite, and ASUS Zenfone Max Pro series were major contributors for the growth of the online segment. Redmi 6A was the best-selling device of the quarter.
Overall, online sales grew by 17 percent since Q1 2018, riding on new launches, sales events, and lucrative offers from handset makers. This is in sharp contrast to offline sales that declined by four percent in Q1 2019.
Anshika Jain, Research Analyst at Counterpoint, stated,
“Price cuts of popular devices and more launches drove online channel shipments to the highest ever level In Q1 2019. The high online channel share indicates that the new ecommerce policy has limited impact, and ecommerce giants have found a way to cope.”
Flipkart's growth was led by Xiaomi, Realme, ASUS, and Huawei, which accounted for more than four-fifths of its total smartphone shipments. Events such as Flipkart Mobile Bonanza and Women’s Day Sale also drove sales.
Xiaomi emerged as the most popular smartphone brand online, accounting for 43 percent of all shipments.
Redmi 6A, Redmi Note 6 Pro and Redmi Note 7 series drove volumes, contributing to almost two-thirds of the Chinese handset maker's total online sales. In fact, six out of the top 10 models were from Xiaomi.
Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint, said,
“This quarter we have seen brands adopting a hybrid channel strategy to gain market share. Key brands like Xiaomi, Realme, OnePlus have started expanding offline, which reduced some of the dependency of these brands on online channels. Having said that we believe that the online channel will continue to hold significant importance in a price-conscious market like India.”