Samsung is going through a rough patch in India, at least in terms of press coverage. Since the second half of 2017, there has been a barrage of market research reports showing a decline in Samsung’s dominance in India. Many reports even showed Xiaomi emerging as the largest smartphone vendor in India due to the phenomenal success of the recent Redmi smartphones.
However, Samsung has constantly been rubbishing all such reports saying it is still the market leader in India by a substantial margin. To buttress its argument, Samsung keeps quoting market share numbers from the German market research firm GfK which keeps showing Samsung at the top. Mohandeep Singh, Senior VP, Mobile Business, Samsung India, reiterated the same point again to IANS.
Singh said the company has “extremely aggressive plans” for India and is well-prepared to handle the competition from the Chinese brands. He also said Samsung is not just focusing on bringing the prices down to tackle the competition. Repeating Samsung’s earlier claims about market dominance, he further said, “We are a market leader not only in the premium but across categories, across segments. We expect to continue this momentum.”
Samsung dominates the flagship segment in India
According to the latest numbers from GfK, Samsung captured 49.2 percent market share in the flagship category in Q1 2018. Between April 2017 to March 2018, Samsung garnered 55.2 percent market share in the Rs 40,000 ($590) and above price segment. The company captured an impressive 58 percent market share in March alone, probably driven by the sales of the Galaxy S9 series.
While the flagship market share numbers from GfK may be true, the biggest threat to Samsung’s market share from the Chinese OEMs is in the budget and midrange segments. Samsung main rival in India, Xiaomi, continues to do exceptionally well in the budget category with its Redmi lineup. Xiaomi’s remarkable growth in India is reflected clearly in the sales trackers of well-known market research firms such as the IDC, Strategy Analytics, and Canalys, etc. By the end of Q1 2018, Xiaomi was crowned as the market leader in India by most sales trackers. If we go by some of these trackers, this is the second quarter in a row that Xiaomi emerged at the top
Samsung disagrees with these reports and believes data from GfK represents a more accurate picture since it tracks actual sales instead of shipments. However, the argument that there is a huge discrepancy between shipments and sales numbers of Xiaomi seems far-fetched considering the nature of Xiaomi’s operations.
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