After resisting the challenge from local smartphone-maker Micromax for many quarters, Samsung seems to have finally succumbed this quarter. If research firm Canalys gives Micromax a 22% market share in India over Samsung’s 20%, it just underlines how a very local approach yields dividends in the long run. Micromax has been pushing into the Indian market what the latter needs, be it the all-important price tag, dual-SIM capabilities or native language phones.
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Interestingly, Samsung reached pole position in India and most other markets by cashing in on its value proposition, along with dogged marketing. However, over the past few quarters it has lost its way and been particularly unsuccessful in the budget-phone category. While the company maintained it success in the low volume high value top-end segment with its Galaxy series, it seems to have lost focus on the high volume budget segment.
Incidentally, the expensive smartphones have been effectively made redundant by mid-range phones with top-end specs seems to have hit the Korean tech giant. As per Canalys, 64% of the smartphones sold in India in Q4 were under Rs 12,000, and that is where Samsung is losing to Micromax, Lava, Motorola or Xiaomi. That is where it will have to rethink its strategy.
But let’s not assume that Micromax is also going to hold on to its perch for long. It, too, is struggling to be innovative in this space and will soon have to woo with new products. It also lags the Chinese companies in offering affordable 4G phones, which are now on the buyers’ radar even though these services are still a few months away.
With technology and, more importantly user-preferences, changing rapidly, the smartphone segment is all about staying ahead of the game. Not even the mighty can afford to rest, not for even a quarter. So, while India prides itself in seeing a local name on the top, let’s hope Micromax has strapped up for a bumpy ride ahead.
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