Samsung could soon slip from top smartphone spot in India


This is interesting. Samsung’s aggressive smartphone strategy, tied with a range that aims to please every pocket, has seen it leap to the top of the global smartphone standings. But in some markets it looks like the locals are fighting back in a big way.

Take India for instance, where local brands such as Micromax and Karbonn, could soon usurp the South Korean giant.

Micromaxx in particular is becoming an increasingly dominant player with the latest stats from research and tracking company IDC showing that it currently owns 22% of the Indian market, up from 18.8% in the previous quarter.

By comparison, Samsung’s place in the market slipped from 32.7% in Q1 2013 to 26% this quarter, not great considering the massive growth opportunities available in India. This is, after all, a market in which vendors shipped a total of 9.3-million smartphones in Q2 of 2013 compared with 3.5-million units in the same period of 2012. Quarter on quarter, the country’s smartphone market grew by more than 50% over the units shipped in the first quarter of 2013.

“The growth in the India smartphone market is driven by consistent performance by local vendors who accounted for more than half of the total smartphone market in 2Q13. These vendors have been scaling up operations owing to rising migration of the user base from feature phones to smartphones,” says Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.

“The key for growth in this market, as with most emerging markets, is a low-priced phone equipped with a large screen and dual SIM slots,” says Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst with IDC’s Client Devices group. “The dual SIM phenomena, which had accelerated the growth of local vendors in feature phone, turned to dual SIM smartphones flooding the Indian market. Topped with an attractive sub-US$200 price tag, these smartphones are highly attractive,” she adds. The share of sub-US$200 smartphones in 2Q13 accounted for two-thirds of the total smartphone market.

Given the dominance of lower-tier smartphones, it’s not unreasonable to expect Nokia to continue being a dominant player in the country. Its lower range Lumia devices have largely been met with generally positive reviews, meaning that in India it has a chance to build up from the bottom.

It also seems likely however that anyone who can build a compelling, reasonably priced tablet is likely to do well. That section of the market grew 17 times year on year and the phablet share has steadily risen to 30% of the smartphone market in the second quarter of this year.



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