5G smartphone shipments in India is expected to hit the 38 million units mark in India in 2021 and will account for a 21% share of the total smartphone market in the same year, according to Counterpoint Research’s ‘India Market Outlook’ report.
As of Q3 2020, India’s 5G shipments stood at 1.7 million units, which is expected to cross the 4 million mark by the end of 2020. These shipments were primarily driven by two brands–China’s OnePlus, which launched the Nord 5G smartphone in August 2020, and Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 series.
OnePlus is the only smartphone vendor with a 100% 5G portfolio.
“Going forward, 5G smartphone shipments are expected to increase by more than nine times to reach 38 million units in 2021. The growth will be driven by intense competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the decline in the price of 5G smartphones,” report said.
The market reached its inflection point after the launch of the mid-priced OnePlus Nord. Its shipments in the first two months after its launch were more than the total 5G shipments of other brands till June.
According to the report, to increase the adoption of 5G smartphones, OEMs will have to bring the prices below Rs 20,000 ($275) mark which will be possible by incorporating affordable 5G chipsets.
Notably, American chip giant Qualcomm and Taiwanese fabless chipmaker MediaTek both have launched their affordable 5G chipsets, the Snapdragon 4-series and Dimensity series, respectively. However, supply issues might dampen the “spirits of the OEMs” and they may focus on diverting 5G chipsets to the regions having higher 5G adoption, the report said.
The research firm expects the price of 5G smartphones to drop down to Rs 15,000 by Q3 2021, coinciding with India’s festive season and related e-commerce sales such as Flipkart Big Billion Days and Amazon’s Great India Festival. It expects online-first brands such as Xiaomi and Realme to drive 5G smartphone adoption by bringing them down to lower price bands.
At present the difference between the cheapest online-centric 5G device (Moto G 5G/Mi 10i) and the cheapest offline-centric 5G device (Vivo V20 Pro 5G) is around Rs 9,000 (around $120), it highlighted.