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Realme takes chunk of India mobile market as Samsung slides

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Over 400 percent more phones shipped year-on-year

realme Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Realme keeps on increasing its share of the Indian smartphone market, growing shipments more than 400 percent year-on-year to grab 14.3 percent in the third quarter of 2019, according to figures from IDC. That’s a huge increase on the 3.1 percent recorded a year ago when the brand had only just launched, initially as a spin-off from Oppo. IDC cites “heavy shipments” of the C2 phone as well as the new 5 series in a quarter that saw a record total of 46.6 million smartphones shipped in India from all competing companies.

Oppo itself is now one place behind Realme in Indian market share, but it also grew significantly to capture 11.8 percent. Vivo is in third place after growing to 15.2 percent, while Xiaomi’s leading share shrunk slightly to 27.1 percent. If you were to count Vivo, Realme, and Oppo as one company, due to their shared ownership by shadowy private conglomerate BBK Electronics, it would be the number one vendor in India.


The main loser in all of this is second-placed Samsung, which saw shipments decline 8.5 percent year on year and its market share slip from 22.6 percent to 18.9 percent. IDC notes, however, that the numbers suffered from a lagging release schedule, and indeed the company’s market share had hit 25 percent the previous quarter.

What may worry Samsung, though, is that the Indian market appears to be consolidating, with only 12 percent accounted for by “others,” which is down from nearly 30 percent a year ago. With Xiaomi holding steady at the top, the growth is all coming from competitive companies — or one umbrella company, depending on your perspective — right below Samsung.

The Realme brand in particular has been an explosive force in the market, and while its e-commerce playbook was lifted directly from Xiaomi, its rival continues to do well. IDC says Xiaomi posted 12.6 million units, its highest ever shipments in a quarter, led by the Redmi 7A and Redmi Note 7 Pro. If you only take online sales into account, Xiaomi has 40 percent of the market and four out of the top five models. In the fast-growing $300-500 device segment, meanwhile, the impressive Redmi K20 and K20 Pro have been big hits.