It has taken some time coming but Micromax is now the largest smartphone vendor in India, according to international research firm Canalys. As report released on Wednesday gave the Indian smartphone manufacturer a 22% market share, ahead of the Korean tech giant who has a 20% share. Canalys said the “incredible performance is partly due to Micromax’s continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smart phones.
Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi said, “Canalys believes catering to local market preferences will become increasingly important. Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its Unite phones.”
However, Samsung countered the findings by releasing figures from research firm Gfk which it claimed was “based on actual sales”. “Samsung’s volume market share in the October-December 2014 quarter was 34.3% and the value market share was 35.8%,” a release said. It quoted Asim Warsi, Vice-President, Marketing, Mobile business, Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd, to claim they still “lead the market with innovative and exciting offerings”. “Our volume market share in the smartphone market in the year was 35.7%, which is more than double than that of the next player, while our value share was 40.2%, which is more than four times the next player. The GfK data is based on actual retail sales in 50,000-plus population cities,” he said.
Micromax did not respond to request for comments on the reports.
canalys says Micromax’s flagship line of products like the Canvas Nitro and Canvas Hue “has very effectively targeted” the Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 segment. As per its estimates for Q4 2014 in India, 23% of shipments were of devices priced under Rs 6,000, while 41% were of devices in the Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000.
“While Samsung has been innovative in the premium-segment with the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S series, they are yet to show strong innovation in the low-cost segment of the smart phone market. With an influx of high spec affordable devices by Indian and Chinese vendors, and with each upping on the feature-set offered by its competitors, Samsung is quickly losing relevance in the mid-to-low price market, its market share has been reducing gradually,” Doshi told IndianExpress.com.
He said India’s volume market comprises majorly of users upgrading to a smart phone from a feature phone at an affordable price-point and with literally no competitive smart phones below Rs 12,000, Samsung has little to offer to this segment as compared to Micromax, Lava or Karbonn. “Notably, the recently launched Galaxy Alpha series are almost twice as expensive as the Micromax Canvas Nitro.”
Doshi said Lava, another domestic vendor, has launched devices that cater to the preference for greater battery life – in this case a couple of days. “But vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India.”
Overall, the Indian market experienced very strong annual growth of 90%, with 21.6 million units shipping in the quarter. The top four players in Q4 2014 in India by units shipped were Micromax, Samsung, Karbonn and Lava, with a tough fight being seen for the third and fourth positions.