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India's smartphone sales fall 13% during second COVID-19 wave - report

·1 min read
A vendor waits for customers inside his shop that sells mobile phones at Surat, in the western Indian state of Gujarat

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India's smartphone sales fell 13% in the second quarter compared with the previous one as a second wave of COVID-19 infections hurt demand in the world's No. 2 smartphone market, a research report said on Thursday.

Online smartphones purchases, however, helped sales surge 87% compared with a year earlier, according to market research firm Canalys.

"Smartphone vendors in India had assumed COVID-19 would not return, and several planned to invest in infrastructure for branded stores and partnerships with third-party offline channels. But once again they were quickly compelled to pivot to an online strategy," Canalys analyst Sanyam Chaurasia wrote in the report.

China's Xiaomi Corp continued to be the top brand favoured by Indian buyers with a 29% market share, followed by South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd at 17% share, Canalys said.

Chaurasia predicted the country will see a rebound in the second half of this year as vaccinations boost consumer confidence and as smartphone brands launch new products.

As the threat of a third wave of COVID-19 infections still looms in India, customer behaviour and industrial operations will continue to adjust to pandemic conditions, helping reduce the impact, the analyst wrote.

(Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; editing by Vinay Dwivedi)