premium smartphone market in India

As the budget and mid-segment smartphone market in India is witnessing cut-throat competition, the premium smartphone market has started attracting the eyeballs of smartphone manufacturers. Despite the fuelling competition, the Korean electronics giant, Samsung is able to hold its ground in the premium smartphone market in India and retained its numero-uno position in the first half of 2018.

According to the latest report, titled “Mobile Handset Review” by CMR India, nearly 50% of premium smartphones sold in India in the first six months of 2018 were manufactured by Samsung.

The report also states that Oneplus has secured the second spot with a 25% share, followed by Apple with a 22% share of the premium smartphone market in India in the first half of the year.

“The premium smartphone segment, though small, is driven by aspirational, tech-savvy millennials and in the coming years, will continue to grow significantly. Samsung’s flagship S9 helped it garner a lion’s share of the premium smartphone segment,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, said in a statement.

Analysts at CMR believe that the secret sauce behind the success of Oneplus over Apple is the former’s impressive pricing strategy employed by the former in India – a country which is known for the price sensitivity.

On the other hand, Apple’s exorbitant pricing strategy of iPhone X and iPhone 8 lineup in India failed to impress masses measurably. On top of that, the increase of duty on premium smartphones made the situation more tough for Apple. All this has a direct impact on the market share of Apple in India.

Premium Smartphone Market in India: A Disputed Arena

The data of the latest CMR India report differs from the data by Counterpoint Research report which recently declared Oneplus as an undisputed leader of the premium smartphone market in India in Q2 2018. The Counterpoint report depicts that while Samsung did account for nearly half of premium smartphone market in India in Q1 2018, the scenario changed upside in Q2 2018, as Samsung lost a sizable ground to Oneplus.

The premium smartphones account for nearly 4% of total quarterly smartphone shipments in India. In the first half of 2018 – between January and June 2018 – the smartphone shipments in India clocked 63.5 million. If we go by Counterpoint Research data on premium smartphone market India on Q1 2018 and Q2 2018, a total of 2.52 million premium smartphones were shipped in India during the first 6 months of 2018. Samsung captured 41.26% of the premium smartphone market in India in the first half of 2018 while Oneplus accounted for one-third (32.53%) of the market.

While both the reports portray different scenarios of the premium smartphone market in India, they declare Samsung as the undisputed leader of the premium smartphone market in India, so far. As Onplus so closing the gap – from 25% in Q1 2018 to 40% in Q2 2018 – by eating into the Samsung’s market – from 50% in Q1 2018 to 34% in Q2 2018 – it would be interesting to see what strategies Samsung would employ to safeguard its crown from Korea to China.

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