Xiaomi has managed to beat Samsung to become the top smartphone vendor in India in Q4 2017, according to a Canalys report. The Chinese player shipped close to 8.2 million smartphone units in the quarter, with Samsung closing in at 7.3 million. Canalys puts Xiaomi’s total market share at 27 per cent and Samsung’s and 25 per cent respectively. The top two vendors now contribute to more than 50 per cent of the smartphone market in India.
Meanwhile in a statement, Samsung said it is still “India’s number 1 smartphone company by a distance.” The company’s statement says, “As per GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers in the last (November) quarter Samsung had a 45% value market share and 40% volume market share. Samsung is a full range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017.” Samsung added that it is “India’s ‘Most Trusted’ brand,” and it owes its “undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of consumers in India.”
According to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC), both the companies were on top in Q3, with 23.5 per cent market share each. IDC attributed Xiaomi’s success to focus on traditional sales methods, aggressive pricing and its online presence. Canalys’ data suggests Xiaomi has inched ahead in Q4.
“Xiaomi’s persistence has paid off,” said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Research Analyst. “Its results are commendable, given it entered the market just three years ago. Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi’s growth, but the key reason for its current success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally. Localization in channel strategy, marketing and products has been evident in Xiaomi’s Indian operations,” Dutt added.
Meanwhile, the Indian smartphone market in India grew by 6 per cent overall. The total smartphone shipments were close to 30 million units. Apart from Xiaomi and Samsung, top five smartphone vendors in India include, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo.
“Samsung’s loss comes from its inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio,” said Rushabh Doshi, Analyst. “It has been unable to win over cost-conscious consumers, losing market share in the sub-Rs 15,000 ($240) segment to Xiaomi quarter after quarter. Despite its ability to offer better margins and funding to the offline channel, consumer demand for Samsung’s devices has been weak. But it has far superior R&D, and a better hold on the supply chain due to its strong components business. The power struggle between Xiaomi and Samsung will continue well into 2018, as Samsung revamps its low-cost portfolio and fights to take back the aspirational status it once held in minds of Indian consumers.”
Xiaomi’s success in India will have far-reaching implications for its worldwide strategy, giving a big boost to its overseas ambitions. Considerable business in the world’s largest two smartphone markets will build confidence in its partners as well as future investors. “But growth in 2018 will be hard to come by,” added Doshi. “As Xiaomi’s market share reaches saturation point in India, and the market continues to shrink in China, it must contend with slower growth for its smartphone business as it begins to expand in other countries.”