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The Indian smartphone market fell 10 percent year-on-year to 43.5 million units last quarter, the lowest third-quarter shipments since 2019, and a high inventory buildup is expected to lead to a flat performance in the fourth quarter, market research firm IDC reported Monday.

IDC said relentless price increases pulled down shipments in the world’s second-largest smartphone market, despite the holiday season starting earlier than usual. Average selling prices rose 15 percent year-over-year and 6 percent from the previous quarter to a record $226 (currently about RMB 1,607).

Upasana Joshi, IDC’s research manager for client devices, said, “Average selling prices continued to increase for the eighth consecutive quarter due to increased costs and 5G shipments growing at a moderate premium.”

In addition, IDC assistant vice president of device research Navkendar Singh said that inventory buildup and post-holiday demand curtailment will lead to weak performance in the fourth quarter.

IDC expects Indian smartphone shipments to be about 150 million units in 2022, down 8-9 percent from the previous year, and Singh doesn’t expect 2023 to be any better. The main challenges going into 2023 are the impact of inflation on consumer demand, the increasing cost of devices and the slow migration from feature phones to smartphones.

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