Samsung looks to be on track to regain its top spot in the Indian smartphone market, after a strong performance during the month of March. The South Korean electronics firm, which once replaced Nokia atop the smartphone market in India, lost that spot to China’s Xiaomi after the third quarter of 2020.
The company showed strong performance in March this year, on the back of strong performance of its Galaxy S22 smartphone and devices in the A-Series, according to analysts. Xiaomi retained the top spot for the quarter ended March 2022 as well, while Samsung topped the month of March, both in the overall market and in the premium segment, which consists of phones priced above ₹30,000.
Samsung is on track to surpass its closest rival Xiaomi in the overall market and will surpass Apple in the premium market as well, analysts said. The company amassed 81% market share in the market for phones priced over ₹1 lakh in March, which consists largely of phones from Samsung and Apple, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
It also clocked 38% market share in the more than ₹30,000 segment, which consists of premium phones from Apple, Xiaomi, Vivo, and others. Apple, on the other hand, had 30% market share in this segment, according to the data.
There is a “strong possibility” that Samsung may return to the number one position in the second quarter as its new devices in the Galaxy A series are doing well, said Prachir Singh, senior research analyst at Counterpoint Research. The brand has had new launches that have been favoured by the market, Singh said.
Further, the growing traction in offline retail as curbs put in place to limit the spread of coronavirus are eased, has also helped Samsung regain its presence. The company has been able to cover most price segments with its launches, which has given it “market momentum”, said Prabhu Ram, head, industry intelligence group at Cybermedia Research.
Aditya Babbar, senior director and head of Product Marketing, Mobile Business at Samsung India, too, attributed the momentum to the expansion in offline retail. “We increased our flagship retail footprint to enable consumers to experience our devices not only in metro cities but also in tier-1 and smaller towns,” he said.
Samsung dominated the 5G value for money price band of ₹7,000 to ₹25,000 as well, in the March quarter, according to Cybermedia Research.
The South Korean phone maker ended the first quarter of 2022 with 20% market share, behind Xiaomi’s 23%, according to Counterpoint.
This, however, comes at a time when the overall smartphone market contracted for a third straight quarter, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Chinese brands Xiaomi and Oppo were the two biggest losers in terms of shipments between January and March, the company said in its quarterly report on India’s smartphone market, published this week. Xiaomi saw its shipment volume decline by 18.2%, while Oppo saw a decline of 24.9%. India shipped 37 million smartphones in the quarter.
“Due to rising inflation and lengthening of the smartphone refresh cycle, IDC expects Q2 22 also to remain muted,” said Navkendar Singh, research director, client devices and IPDS, IDC India.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case against Xiaomi may also affect the Chinese brand’s position in India in the next quarter, said an industry expert who requested anonymity. The enforcement directorate seized Rs5,551.27 crore from the Chinese firm earlier this month, just more than a fortnight after it questioned global vice president Manu Jain on the matter.