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Chinese smartphone brands are enjoying a ton of growth, although established contenders like Apple and Samsung are still ruling the roost. But there has been a massive shift in the world’s second biggest market of India, as Xiaomi has reportedly pipped Samsung to the number one spot in Q4 of 2017.
According to a report by tracking firm Canalys, Xiaomi shipped 8.2 million units in the quarter, compared to Samsung’s 7.3 million smartphones
sold shipped. It’s made even more impressive by the fact that Samsung saw annual growth of 17%.
“Xiaomi’s persistence has paid off,” said Ishan Dutt, Canalys Research Analyst, in a news release. “Its results are commendable, given it entered the market just three years ago. Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi’s growth, but the key reason for its current success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally. Localisation in channel strategy, marketing and products has been evident in Xiaomi’s Indian operations.”
Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo rounded out the top five in the market.
Still doubting Xiaomi? The company just got a boost after its Indian sales performance
Why did Samsung lose out though?
“Samsung’s loss comes from its inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio,” Canalys analyst (say that three times) Rushabh Doshi was quoted as saying. “It has been unable to win over cost-conscious consumers, losing market share in the sub-INR15 000 (US$240) segment to Xiaomi quarter after quarter. Despite its ability to offer better margins and funding to the offline channel, consumer demand for Samsung’s devices has been weak.”
Nevertheless, Doshi points to Samsung’s strengths, such as “far superior” R&D and a better grip on the supply chain.
“The power struggle between Xiaomi and Samsung will continue well into 2018, as Samsung revamps its low-cost portfolio and fights to take back the aspirational status it once held in minds of Indian consumers.”