Samsung Overtakes Xiaomi in India: Hour of Glory or Portent of Things to Come?

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The smartphone shipments in India has shattered all the previous record in Q3 2020.

The crown at the top has been in the firm grasp of Xiaomi; Utter dominance. All rivals in positions below. And yet, as the winds of change have blown, Samsung has overtaken Xiaomi in the Indian smartphone market after two years.

According to a new report published by Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi has ceded its position at the top of the Indian smartphone market to Samsung. In the data for the market share pertaining to the Q3 of 2020, Samsung gained a 24% market share as compared to Xiaomi’s 23%, thereby managing to claim the top spot from its rival.

Via: GraphFarm

It is worth noting that both companies, perhaps sensing an opportunity ahead in the festive season, have let loose a barrage of models in the Indian market. While Samsung brought out 18 phone variants in the Indian smartphone market in the April to September frame, Xiaomi went ahead and launched 22.

The clinching factor for Samsung is a narrative in contrasting fortunes. On one hand, Samsung’s aggressive push in sales was completed well an affordable smartphone handset range and an effective distribution network. Whereas Xiaomi’s sales took a plunge owing to the void created between manufacturing and distribution by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, seeing as the volume of units Samsung shipped in Q3 of 2020 was up 32% YoY, this has seen Samsung nose out in front of its Chinese counterpart.

The circumstances have played a considerable part in aiding Samsung’s ascent in Q3. Both firms agree that India’s smartphone market saw a sharp rebound during the quarter. Experts have analysed this quarter as a strong one, seeing as how more than 53 million smartphone units were shipped with a 9% YoY growth. The anti-Chinese sentiments have certainly buoyed Samsung’s sails, while Xiaomi has been on the receiving end of the stick.

Looking at the stats, the embattled Chinese tech giant is bound to ponder how much it has suffered as a result of the border skirmish between the two neighbours. Case in point being last years’ stats when, during Q3 2019, Samsung accounted for 20% of the smartphone market in India while Xiaomi held 26%.

Consider also the fact that Micromax has also thrown its hat in the ring for reclaiming the Indian smartphone market. Seemingly back from the dead and led by Rahul Sharma’s theatrical and passionate call to go all-in with ‘In’, Xiaomi’s troubles have only exacerbated in recent times.

The competition for Chinese smartphone players is only going to be more severe in the future.

Experts, however, have also opined that even though the anti-Chinese sentiment was more pronounced during the start of the quarter, much of it has subsided as the consumers weigh in different parameters for making an optimum purchase.

The lead-in shares cannot be counted as definitive, and therein lies the question – is this just a passing gust of wind in the Indian smartphone market? After all, it is not long ago that Chinese smartphone makers dominated as much as 70% of the market combined. In Q3 2020 the top five Chinese smartphone brands controlled more than 64% of the market, as indicated by GraphFarm.

One thing is clear for sure; India smartphone market share domination is to be looked at with renewed interest in the upcoming future as rivals, old and new, go head to head.

Till then, stay tuned to this pace for more updates.


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