With rapidly maturing smartphone market in India, only a few people are vehemently curious about opting for top-notch flagship devices from premium brands. Though Indian smartphone market remained flat Y-o-Y in Q1 2018, the premium smartphone shipments experienced 13% sequential drop due to lack of promotions post-holiday quarter. The premium smartphone market in India is still in nascent stages, accounting for mere 4% of the overall smartphone market in India.
According to the latest analysis from Counterpoint Research, the top three brands, Samsung, OnePlus and Apple contributed to 95% of overall premium smartphone market segment in India. Samsung has regained the top spot capturing half of the premium segment with 16% YoY growth. Apple’s share in the premium segment has dropped as the volumes dipped by 55% due to decline in shipments of its tenth anniversary iPhone X and iPhone 8. Also, high import duties on CBUs has led to the higher price of already expensive iPhones. OnePlus has been consistent on the second spot since Q3 2017. Interestingly, OnePlus 5T was the best-selling model during the quarter, with 25% share of the total premium models, according to Karn Chauhan, a Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research.
Clearly, Samsung has turned the game in its favour within just a quarter. The company’s share of premium smartphones market in India rose 3X, apparently at the cost of iPhone. Tthe credit of Samsung’s stellar performance in the premium segment goes to its latest flagships Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, even though the devices were launched in this quarter’s last month. The Korean electronics giant has been struggling in the premium segment, lagging behind the other two makers until the beginning of Q1 2018. Samsung has left no stone unturned in promoting its top of the line handsets. The legacy of Galaxy devices goes way back but with time, Samsung has adopted really aggressive marketing strategies to clear the crowd. In its Galaxy Note 8 commercial titled “growing up” which came last year, Samsung had clearly mocked Apple as an Apple fanboy chooses Note 8 over iPhone X. Galaxy Note 8, though it was a decent smartphone, failed to erode the market of iPhone X in Q4 2017.
Samsung did make sure that Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus show a strong prominence in both online and offline channels. India has one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world and a wide demographic in the country is preferring online channels, primarily because of deals and offers, and of course convenience. S9 and S9 Plus came out with exhilarating offers ranging from cashback with different wallets and Banks, exchange bonus of around $150, upgrades and data bundling plans across major operators in the country. Brands in the premium segment are leveraging big time from EMI offers and Cashbacks and Samsung is no exception. Online cashback is being used in 9 out of 10 premium models.
Samsung S9 Plus and S9 currently hold a share of 17% and 12%, respectively, in the premium segment. It clearly portrays that the Samsung’s flagships models contributed highly but the sales of other Samsung’s premium smartphones like Note 8 and Galaxy A8+ also helped Samsung to capture over half of the premium smartphone market. The upcoming Galaxy Note 9 is likely to cash in on the momentum built by Samsung’s premium smartphones. Recently, S9 and S9+ had already defeated iPhone X in Consumer Report smartphone ratings and now the company rules the premium smartphone segment.