Vivo, the Chinese smartphone maker, has seen its market share in India double year on year during the first quarter – a development that analysts have attributed in part to its sponsorship of the India Premier League.

Research firm Canalys reported that Vivo had shipped more than 4.5 million units from January to March, boosting it share from 7.3% in Q1 2018 to 15% this year. Counterpoint Technology Market Research's figures showed a similar picture, with the share leaping from 6% to 12% over the same period.

“Vivo’s expensive bets on the Indian Premier League cricket are paying off,” Canalys research director Rushabh Doshi told the Economic Times.

“Vivo has made several shrewd marketing investments, which also include signing internationally popular Bollywood actor Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador,” he added.

The surge in Vivo’s share takes it past rival Chinese manufacturer OPPO (9.3%) and into third place in the market behind Xiaomi, another Chinese brand, on 31.4% (according to Canalys), and Korean giant Samsung on 24.4%.

Add in the 4.2% share of Realme – which only entered the Indian market in the second quarter of 2018 as a sub-brand of OPPO before being spun off as an independent business – and Chinese brands account for a massive 60% of the total market.

However, Doshi doubted Vivo would sustain that stellar level of progress, highlighting the “intense battle [it will face] in 2019, as OPPO’s Cricket World Cup sponsorship and Samsung’s fresh offensive with the new M series will threaten its momentum”.

He also suggested that Xiaomi was peaking. “Its devices, while value for money, are now too mainstream to attract users from other brands,” he said.

Xiaomi, which began its march in India five years ago, selling only via online channels, has since branched out into offline channels where it sells through 6,000 stores in three formats.

Last week it announced its intention to expand to 10,000 outlets by the end of this year, with 50% of sales coming through the offline market.

Sourced from Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff