Ever since the start of the smartphone revolution, the global smartphone industry has been at the forefront of the consumer technology innovation, consistently posting incredible growth figures. The smartphone has dominated the past decade, so much so that some of the biggest companies in the world today owe their success to this device. However, after all this time, the global smartphone industry is now at an inflexion point. Growth has been steadily slowing over the past few years, as many traditional elite markets approach dangerous levels of saturation. The majority of sales in these regions now come from replacement buyers rather than new customers. This has invariably shifted the industry attention to alternate markets to some extent. Markets in Asia, particularly China and India, now afford the highest potential for growth for companies looking to expand rapidly.
India, in particular, is a supremely appealing prospect for many manufacturers due to its large population and status as the ‘fastest growing smartphone market in the world’. Of course, gaining a foothold in the Indian market is easier said than done. Over the years, many popular global smartphone manufacturers have failed miserably in their efforts in India, but Samsung is not one of them. Their vast and multi-price tier product portfolio and extensive marketing have brought them much success in this region, with the South Korean giants topping sales charts for over half a decade.
However, all that changed at the tail end of last year. Several reports now indicate that Xiaomi has dethroned Samsung with 8.2 million smartphone shipments in India in Q4 2017. This is quite startling considering the profiles of these companies, and the fact that Xiaomi has only been around in India for nearly four years only.
The change equations in the India smartphone market lead to think:
- What has prompted such a dramatic change of fortunes?
- What are the deficiencies in Samsung’s India strategy?
- Why is a company of Samsung’s size struggling to keep up with a relative newcomer like Xiaomi?
Today we are digging deep to understand what are factors that forced a cash-rich Samsung to leave grounds for relatively new entrants, likes of Xiaomi. And, what’s holding Samsung back from winning the lost grounds from newbies in India.