Not long ago, smartphone vendors were hardly bothering to pay attention to the claims made by various independent research firms. But, in the last few quarters, as the smartphone market in India has started heating up after the debut of more Chinese vendors, especially Xiaomi, companies have started screening various reports and studies that could affect its position in the market in any ways. Earlier today, we analyzed a recent report from Canalys that claimed Micromax leapfrogged Samsung to become the market leader in India in Q4, 2014. Within few hours of the claim, Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd (KRX:005935) has defended its position by releasing a press note, stating that the Korean electronics giant still holds the lion’s share of the market by selling little over than one-third of total smartphone in India during the fourth quarter of 2014. The company has also rebuffed the claim that homegrown smartphone vendors Micromax is following closely and squeezing the gap.
This afternoon, Samsung released a statement making a point that Micromax is far behind when it comes to the smartphone market, be it volume game or value.
According to Asim Warsi, Vice President, Marketing, Mobile business, Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd. – “Our volume market share in the smartphone market in the whole last year was 35.7%, which is more than double than that of the next player, while our value share was 40.2%, which is more than four times the next player.”
Samsung has also insisted on the fact that these are actual sales figures and are more important than shipments capacity or figures to understand a company’s performance. Therefore the Canalys report, which is based on smartphone shipments in India Q4 2014, can’t portray an accurate picture of a vendor’s performance.
This is not the first time when Samsung has rejected a quarterly smartphone shipment report. Last year, in a similar fashion, Samsung dismissed the report from another research firm Counterpoint that had claimed Samsung led the overall mobile market in India though, it was Micromax that pull Samsung down to second position in the Smartphone market. At the time, Samsung argued that Micromax is a fourth of our size and the company leads in both volume and value segment.
But the latest claim of Samsung is also quite dubious; In Q3 2014 when the leading research firm IDC made a claim that Samsung still holds a number position in Smartphone market in India, it accounted the company for 24% of total smartphone market share, which is clearly 10 percent point lesser than Samsung’s latest official claim. For a company, which is facing a stiff competition from local vendors in all the three largest smartphone markets – China, USA and India – justifying the gap of 10 percent point and turning their back to almost every other independent research report is like biting bullets.
For Samsung, India has been one of the most promising markets; considering the facts that US market is near saturation and Xiaomi is eating up in Samsung’s market in China, the company can’t afford to loose its ground in India. However, the price war has forced almost every smartphone vendor India, including Samsung, cut down on its profit eventually making volume market more significant than value market.
IDC report on Smartphone shipments in India Q4 2014 is yet to come and it would be interesting to see how far it complements Samsung’s claim, which is based on actual retail sales in 50,000-plus population cities.