South Korean electronics giant Samsung has usurped the pole position in the Indian smartphone market overtaking Xiaomi in the process in the second quarter of this calendar year, as per data collated by Counterpoint Research.
The Chinese had ended Samsung's six year long leadership in the market in the last quarter of 2017 and had held firm in the beginning of this year. Samsung had a 29 per cent share against Xiaomi's 28 per cent in the smartphone segment that accounted for half of all handsets sold in the country in the April-June period.
"Samsung has regained the leading position back after receding it to Xiaomi two quarters ago. The success of Samsung during the quarter can be attributed to its refreshed J series as it launched the most number of models as compared to any brand across multiple price points during the quarter," says Karn Chauhan, Research analyst at Counterpoint.
"These new launches brought some of the most popular and sought after features like dual camera, infinity display, and facial unlock across different price segments for Samsung for the first time ever. Additionally, the strong offline distribution and aggressive marketing campaign around its J series helped the brand to gain not only market but also mind share during the quarter. Second half of 2018 is likely to be a close race between Samsung and Xiaomi especially during the important upcoming festive season."
In the first quarter of 2018, Xiaomi had a 31 per cent share in smartphones as compared to 26 per cent for Samsung. The rest of the players including Vivo, Oppo, Huawei, Lenovo and Micromax all had single digit market shares.
The second quarter also saw the smartphone market return to double digit growth (18 per cent) year on year after a flat first quarter growth even as the feature phone market continued to outpace with a 21 per cent year on year growth. In the feature phone market, Reliance Jio commanded a 47 per cent share followed by Samsung at 9 per cent Nokia, Itel and Lava at 8, 6 and 5 per cent each.
"India smartphone market returned to double digit growth during the quarter and is likely to grow in double digits for the entire year. Growth during the quarter was driven by new launches and strong promotions across both online and offline channels during the quarter," says Anshika Jain, research analyst at Counterpoint. "As volume share of the top five players grew more than 80 per cent, local and smaller players were forced to change their strategy which involved changing channels and product strategy along with cutting down on SKUs. Additionally, the increase in duties for handset components announced during the starting of the quarter, forced smaller players to delay their product launches as they don't have necessary operations to save on the increased tariffs for certain components like populated printed circuit boards, mechanics and others," she said.