Apple iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord lead premium market in India, Samsung's cheap phones are popular

Apple iPhone SE and OnePlus Nord lead premium market in India, Samsung's cheap phones are popular

The latest research note by Counterpoint shows that OnePlus and Apple are leading the premium segments while the popularity of cheap Samsung phones makes the Korean company top smartphone seller in India.

Which is the top smartphone company in India in terms of market share? According to Counterpoint Research, in the Q3, 2020 it was Samsung. Counterpoint says that in terms of number of phones shipped, Samsung narrowly edged out Xiaomi in India with a market share of 24 per cent compared to Xiaomi's 23 per cent. At the same time, Counterpoint notes that neither Samsung nor Xiaomi lead the premium segment where the volumes are lower. It says that in the premium segment where phones have a price of above Rs 30,000, Apple took the lead.

Counterpoint noted that Apple's lead in the premium segment was powered by the iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 11. Counterpoint said that Apple surpassed "OnePlus even before its flagship (iPhone 12) launch, driven by strong demand for its iPhone SE 2020 and the iPhone 11."

OnePlus led two segments in premium and mid-tier parts of the market, with OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus Nord proving popular.

"OnePlus remained the top brand in the affordable premium segment (Rs 30,000-Rs 45,000 or $400-$600 segment), driven by OnePlus 8 sales. It re-entered the upper mid-tier (Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 or $270-$400 segment) with its Nord series and the OnePlus Nord became the best-selling model within the segment in the initial quarter of launch," noted the Counterpoint report.

In total, phone companies shipped 53 million units in the Indian market in Q3, 2020, hinting at a recovery. "The Indian smartphone market is on a recovery path as the lockdown restrictions have been relaxed. Almost all the brands recorded growth compared to the last year. In terms of price bands, the mid-tier (Rs 10,000 Rs 20,000) segment registered the highest growth and reached its highest ever share in a quarter," said Counterpoint senior research analyst Prachir Singh.

It is this segment under Rs 20,000 that propelled Samsung to be the top phone seller in India with market share of 24 per cent. Apparently, its cheap Galaxy phones are finding more takers compared to devices like the Galaxy FE, Galaxy S20 and Note series that face tougher challenges from more refined products.

"Samsung's strong performance was the result of multiple strategies, including effective supply chain and touching various price points through new launches. Samsung's aggressive push in online channels, with the highest ever online contribution within its portfolio, also helped it regain its number one spot," noted the Counterpoint report.