Korean technology giant Samsung and Chinese Internet company Xiaomi shipped 9.9 million smartphones each in India in the second quarter of 2018. Both the companies account for a combined shipment of over 60 per cent, up from 43 per a year ago, reports Canalys. Overall shipments grew by 22 per cent, to just under 33 million units.
The report further highlights that Xiaomi has more than doubled its shipments to 30 per cent from 18 per cent in the second quarter. The company registered a massive 106 per cent growth in the period. On the other hand, Samsung's annual growth rate, at 43 per cent, is said to be the company's best since Q4 2015. It witnessed an increase to 30 per cent from 25 per cent from last year. Vivo and Oppo are in the third and fourth spot with 3.6 and 3.1 million shipments, respectively.
"Samsung is hitting back," said Canalys Analyst TuanAnh Nguyen. "It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi's portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities with Portrait Dolly and Background Blur Shape functions."
Based on Canalys' smartphone sell-in estimates, the J2 Pro was Samsung's top model in Q2 2018, with 2.3 million units shipped in India. In comparison, Xiaomi shipped 3.3 million of its Redmi 5A. "Despite Xiaomi's growing popularity in India, Samsung will remain the first choice for consumers. Its technological prowess and supply chain mastery will continue to give it an edge over Xiaomi for the foreseeable future," adds Nguyen.
Asus recently flipped its India strategy on its head and moved from a distributor-driven go-to-market model to a single partner, online-first strategy with Flipkart. Asus' shipments almost tripled since the previous quarter. The company has recently launched Zenfone Max Pro M1, which competes against Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro.
Oppo, which saw shipments fall to a low of 2.2 million in Q4 2017, has launched an online-only brand, Realme, challenging Xiaomi with value-for-money products.
"Volume is not the only strategy in India," said Canalys Research Manager Rushabh Doshi.
"Samsung and Xiaomi often distract from the opportunities that India has to offer to smaller and leaner smartphone vendors looking for additional business opportunities. The climate is right for businesses to realign and re-enter the market. Apple's iPhone shipments to India fell by about 50 per cent in Q2 2018. But Apple's paring back of distributor partners and move to a 'brand-first, volume-next' strategy will reap rewards as it will ensure better margin per device. Getting priorities right will be important to smartphone vendors, and it will be a choice between profitability and volume growth."