Chinese smartphone brands strengthen their grip on India

Xiaomi unseated Samsung Electronics from top spot in India’s smartphone market last year on the back of successful online promotions to consumers, giving the Chinese company 29 per cent of the total market, according to a recent report by IDC.

Chinese smartphone brands strengthen their grip on India

South Korean brand Samsung, which was No 1 in India in 2017, fell to second spot last year with 22 per cent market share. Xiaomi’s total smartphone shipments in India reached 41.1 million last year, representing 59 per cent year-on-year growth.

On the whole, the Indian smartphone market grew 14.5 per cent in 2018, mainly driven by multiple rounds of online sales promotions during the fourth quarter ended December. The growth in India bucked the global trend, with worldwide smartphone shipments last year shrinking 4 per cent, according to IDC.

“Shipments of the online-exclusive portfolios of Xiaomi, Honor, Realme, Asus, OnePlus etc, further fuelled this growth,” Upasana Joshi, associate research manager at IDC India, said in a report.

Four of the top five smartphone brands in India are Chinese – Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Transsion – which together accounted for just over half of the country’s market.

While Xiaomi managed 28.6 per cent year-on-year growth in India in the fourth quarter thanks to its affordable Redmi series, high-profile online marketing campaigns and offline expansion in rural areas, the company’s sales shrunk by more than 34 per cent in its home country over the same period.

In December Xiaomi announced a reorganisation aimed at putting more focus the domestic market, naming its co-founder Wang Chuan as president of a new China region.

Although the US$100-US$200 price segment accounts for more than half of the Indian market, growth in the premium smartphone segment outpaced all others with a 43.9 per cent increase last year.

“OnePlus emerged as the leader in US$500-US$700 segment on the back of the OnePlus 6 and the newly-launched OnePlus 6T. However, in the super premium segment of US$700+, Samsung surpassed Apple for the top position with its Galaxy S9 series,” Joshi said.

In a separate report from Counterpoint, Shenzhen-based OnePlus ranked No 1 in India’s premium phone segment with 36 per cent of that market during the fourth quarter, followed by Apple with 30 per cent and Samsung at 26 per cent.

“This was driven by strong demand for its latest OnePlus 6T during the festive season,” Counterpoint analyst Karn Chauhan said in a report.


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