Samsung and Xiaomi are matching smartphone shipment numbers for the quarter ended June, 2018. A new report by market research firm Canalys details smartphone shipment numbers for the Indian market, concluding that both Samsung and Xiaomi shipped 9.9 million devices in the second quarter of this year. Together, both brands now account for 60 percent of the total smartphone shipments in India, which is up from 43 percent a year ago.
This is the best quarter either vendor has had in the country. While Xiaomi more than doubled its shipments, Samsung’s annual growth rate, at nearly 50 percent, was the best it has seen since the fourth quarter of 2015. The J2 Pro was Samsung’s top model in Q2 2018, with 2.3 million units shipped in India. In comparison, Xiaomi shipped 3.3 million units of its Redmi 5A (Review) in the country. Even though both companies matched shipment numbers, Xiaomi still leads the chart when it comes to the rate at which its market share grew in India, as per the report. Samsung took the second spot followed by Vivo and Oppo at third and fourth spots with shipments of 3.6 and 3.1 million respectively. The overall smartphone shipments grew by 22 percent in the last quarter to just shy of 33 million units.
“Samsung is hitting back. It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities with Portrait Dolly and Background Blur Shape functions. Despite Xiaomi’s growing popularity in India, Samsung will remain the first choice for consumers. Its technological prowess and supply chain mastery will continue to give it an edge over Xiaomi for the foreseeable future,” Canalys Analyst TuanAnh Nguyen noted in the report.
Smaller vendors cumulatively made 19 percent of the total market share, down from 35 percent in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Flipping its India strategy on its head, Asus has moved from a distributor-driven go-to-market model to a single partner, online-first strategy with Flipkart, helping the Taiwanese brand to almost triple its shipments from the first quarter. Oppo, which saw shipments fall to a low of 2.2 million in Q4 2017, has launched an online-only brand, Realme, challenging Xiaomi with value-for-money products.
According to Canalys Research Manager Rushabh Doshi, volume is not the only strategy in India. “Samsung and Xiaomi often distract from the opportunities that India has to offer smaller and leaner smartphone vendors looking for additional business opportunities. The climate is right for businesses to realign and reenter the market. Apple’s iPhone shipments to India fell by about 50% in Q2 2018. But Apple’s paring back of distributor partners and move to a ‘brand-first, volumenext’ strategy will reap rewards as it will ensure better margin per device. Getting priorities right will be important to smartphone vendors, and it will be a choice between profitability and volume growth,” Doshi said.
Cover Image: Redmi 5A