Samsung has lost its top spot in the Indian smartphone market for the first time in six years, as it was surpassed by China’s Xiaomi in the final quarter of 2017, data from two tech research firms shows.
According to data from Singapore-based research firm Canalys, Xiaomi clocked a 27.4% share of the market with 8.2 million phones, higher than Samsung’s 24.6% share on the back of more than 7.3 million phones in the three month period. Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research also reported a similar trend with Xiaomi holding 25% of the market, ahead of Samsung which had a 23% share in the quarter ended December.
Ishan Dutt, research analyst at Canalys said “”Xiaomi’s persistence has paid off,” he added “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,”
“Xiaomi disrupted the status quo with an aggressive priced broader portfolio with effective channel expansion strategy,” added Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research.
The struggle between Samsung and Xiaomi 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. The company’s far superior R&D, and a better hold on the supply chain due to its strong components business will also come into play.
“But growth in 2018 will be hard to come by for Xiaomi,” said Doshi, adding that Xiaomi’s market share would reach saturation point in India and hence slow down, even as market continues to shrink in China. Therefore, it should prepare for slower growth for its smartphone business while it begins to expand in other countries.