How OnePlus, Apple Push Samsung To Third Slot

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    Oct 31, 2017


In the ever-raging competitive Indian smartphone market, the faces of the heroes seem to be changing now. Though consistent for a long tenure, Samsung’s market is now in disillusion of sorts due to the new entrants- Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo. And as per recent reports, for the first time ever, Samsung has faltered the ladder in the premium smartphone segment to settle for the third slot which is topped by Apple and OnePlus securing the second spot.

Samsung, however, has disputed this recent finding by Counterpoint Research, claiming to lead the segment by end-sales, according to an ET report.

The Indian Smartphone Market:

Though a little slow in the opening of this year, the smartphone market has caught pace again.

After witnessing slow growth in the first two quarters of this year, the Indian smartphone market geared up for the festive season and registered high sales.

The impact of demonetization late last year and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1 caused weak sell-in shipments in the second quarter as the focus was on clearing the existing inventory.

However, with the of the festive season, offline channels have cleared old stocks and e-retailers banking on their mega online festivals sales and vendors launching new models in the festive period, smartphone sales took off.

Also the attractive data plans by RJio followed by other carriers has triggered smartphones sale in India.

After a wobble in Q2 2017, India’s smartphone market recovered quickly, with shipments growing 23 percent year over year in Q3 2017 to reach just over 40 million units, said a Canalys report.

India has now overtaken the United States to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China. Samsung and Xiaomi, which shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively, accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in Q3 2017, it said.

“This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result,” said Canalys Research Analyst Ishan Dutt. “There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.”

Indian Players Losing Out In Home Ground:

This success drive of the Chinese vendors on the Indian soil has added to the woes of the market of home-bred companies including Micromax, Intex, Lava, Karbonn and LYF.

Despite posting excellent results, the market continues to concentrate, with the top five vendors (Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo) now accounting for 75 percent of total shipments in India.

Xioami now stands as one of the strongest contenders in the Indian handset market. The started its journey in India in July 2014.The country is the company’s largest market outside mainland China. Given its affordable range of phones, it has done all in the competition.

Undoubtedly, the sales of Chinese smartphones are on the rise due to the growing acceptance of brands like Vivo, Oppo, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Lenovo. Also, these smartphones come with decent specifications and reasonable pricing making them well accepted in the value-conscious market of India. 

Vivo has taken the third slot in the segment, for the quarter ended September, with 9.5 percent share as it grew 121 percent by volumes on-year, while those of Oppo went up by 117 percent, also getting it among the top five.

Xiaomi entered the Indian market selling through online platform but its sale sore high with its offline entry with partners and through its own Mi Home stores.

The Feature Phone and the Smartphone segment in India:

Although the wave of smartphones is dominating the Indian market, majorly with low-cost smartphones with enhanced features on the offer, feature phones are also enjoying its market share especially in the lower tier markets.

4G is setting yet another revolution in the feature phone space after making smartphones smarter and creating waves in the telecom industry with its speed and efficiency. Now, the integration of 4G in feature phones by some vendors is giving a 360 degree surge in demand of feature phones. (Click here to read more).

According to a recent report, Feature phones were one among the most gifted item this past festive season.

The survey also informed that to meet this new era demand, retailers, especially in smaller towns and cities, have stocked up on them in the last few months.

The feature phone segment is expected to be around 52 percent of the overall market against smartphones this year. This stability can partly be attributed to Reliance’s Jio Phone, and part to brands including Nokia and itel which have revived the demand of this segment.

“About 90 percent retailers in Tier-II and Tier-III cities are looking to stock feature phones within the range of Rs 1,000 as they are widely bought by customers for gifting purpose,” ET quoted Devesh Rai, as saying. He is the founder of, an online wholesale app that traders use to manage stocks across several categories such as phones, fashion, home furnishings and electronics. Companies like i-KALL, InFocus, Salora, Blackzone, Rocktel and Kara are leading brands in the feature phone category on Wydr, he added. 

However, for the premium segment- Rs 30,000 and beyond- the fight is going to be heightened further in November with players like Nokia, Google, Xiaomi lined up to give an extremely tough competition to Apple and Samsung which had earlier ruled the segment.