Following its lacklustre Q2 results, analysts said Samsung has been displaced by domestic rivals in the two most important emerging markets – China and India.
According to Canalys, Samsung was displaced in China’s smartphone market by fast-growing Xiaomi, which has “in a little over a year… risen from being a niche player to become the leading smartphone vendor in the world’s largest market”.
Jingwen Wang, noted: “Undoubtedly this was helped by an anticipated, temporarily under-strength Samsung performance during the quarter”. Canalys also noted that there has been rapidly shifting demand in favour of 4G handsets, as operators such as China Mobile have rolled-out new services.
Meanwhile, Counterpoint Research said that while Samsung has retained leadership of the smartphone charts, local rival Micromax became the top brand in India, becoming the largest feature phone maker on the way (at the expense of Nokia).
With the market shifting toward smartphones and away from feature phones, this is something of a short-term victory for Micromax, but it does indicate that the South Korean company is not having it its own way.
Further down the smartphone charts are a mix of ambitious local and international competitors, such as Karbonn, Motorola, Celkon, Nokia, Apple and Sony.
While Microsoft’s decision to drop the Nokia X line from its portfolio (powered by an Android variant) is likely to see this vendor’s share impacted, the Indian market has also recently seen the arrival of Xiaomi, Samsung’s nemesis in China.
Jointly, Indian brands accounted for more than two-thirds of the market’s mobile phone shipments, and more than half of its smartphones volume.
While having the number one spot in every market is not important, being beaten in two of the three key battlegrounds is hardly good for Samsung – especially as in the third, the US, it is already on the back-foot to Apple.
Indeed, while Nokia managed to achieve 40 per cent global market share at a point when its performance in the US was uninspiring, it was still performing well in the important Asian territories.
The South Korean handset number one can take some comfort from the fact that its rivals in China and India are largely domestic players that may not have the wherewithal to achieve the same degree of success elsewhere – although Xiaomi is having a fair stab at building its international business.
In other markets it is already facing tough competition from a full range of rivals, from premium to entry-level.
According to Canalys, Samsung’s global market share in Q2 was the lowest in two and a half years at 23 per cent. But with the smartphone market being fiercely competitive, it was still comfortably ahead of its rivals, with only Apple making it into double figures (12 per cent).
Huawei took third spot with 7 per cent share and Lenovo fourth with 5 per cent, although the anticipated combination of Lenovo and Motorola Mobility will create a new global number-three, with an 8 per cent share.