As smartphone vendors struggled with supply issues for low-end mobile handsets, the shipments in India fell 5 percent (on-year) in the third quarter (Q3) this year, a new report showed on Thursday.

In Q3 2021 (July-September period), 47.5 million units were shipped and the market was once again led by Xiaomi at 24 percent share (down 2 percent from the year-ago quarter), followed by Samsung at 19 percent (down 1 percent from the year-ago period) and Vivo at 17 percent (also down 1 percent), according to data by market research firm Canalys.

The third quarter makes for a tough year-on-year compare, due to pent-up demand last year. Shipments in Q3 2021 were 47 percent higher than in Q2 2021, as consumer demand bounced back rapidly owing to the suppression of the Covid-19 wave.

“From the end of June, a surge in demand has swept India, which is set to persist during the festive season. Smartphone vendors have seized the opportunity to push the older stock into the channel ahead of the holiday period,” said analyst Sanyam Chaurasia.

But low-end model supply constraints mean shipments have been restricted, and “brands have been forced to use promotions to make their high-end models more appealing,” Chaurasia added.

These challenges will persist into Q4, and high component and logistics costs, together with container shortages will result in longer lead times and higher retail prices.

Xiaomi maintained its lead in the quarter by shipping 11.2 million units. Samsung remained second with 9.1 million units and Vivo came third with 8.1 million shipments.

Realme remained in fourth place with 7.5 million units, while OPPO finished fifth with 6.2 million units.

“The fight for market share intensifies further in India. Smartphone vendors are using a range of strategies, from extending their product mix to boosting their channel coverage, to increase shipments and value,” said research analyst Jash Shah.

Realme is taking a different tack, hoping to undermine high-end vendors with its focus on affordable 5G.

“Its shipments were 70 percent online, and it shipped around 1 million of its Realme 8 5G,” Shah added.

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