Samsung and Xiaomi recorded their best-ever quarter in India during Q2, each shipping 9.9 million units and together accounting for 60 per cent of total shipments, data from Canalys showed.

China-based Xiaomi more than doubled shipments and increased its market share from 18 per cent in Q2 2017 to 30 per cent at end-June (see chart below, click to enlarge).
Samsung’s shipments rose 47 per cent year-on-year with its share hitting 30 per cent, up from 25 per cent in the 2017 period.

Vivo’s share fell from 13 per cent in Q2 2017 to 11 per cent, though shipments increased 32 per cent to 3.6 million units. Oppo’s shipments rose 5 per cent to 3.1 million units for a 10 per cent market share.

Overall smartphone shipments grew 22 per cent to just under 33 million units.

Canalys analyst TuanAnh Nguyen said Samsung launched devices targeted directly at Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities.

Based on Canalys’ smartphone sell-in estimates, the J2 Pro was Samsung’s top model in Q2 with 2.3 million units shipped. Xiaomi’s top seller was the Redmi 5A (3.3 million).

“Despite Xiaomi’s growing popularity in India, Samsung will remain the first choice for consumers. Its technological prowess and supply chain mastery will continue to give it an edge over Xiaomi for the foreseeable future,” Nguyen said.

Xiaomi took the top spot in Q4 2017 and maintained the position in the opening quarter of 2018, Canalys figures showed.

Additional opportunities
Research manager Rushabh Doshi said volume is not the only strategy in India, noting Samsung and Xiaomi often distract from the opportunities the country offers to smaller and leaner smartphone vendors looking for additional business opportunities.

“The climate is right for businesses to realign and re-enter the market. Apple’s iPhone shipments to India fell by about 50 per cent in Q2. But Apple’s paring back of distributor partners and move to a brand-first, volume-next strategy will reap rewards as it will ensure better margin per device. Getting priorities right will be important to smartphone vendors and it will be a choice between profitability and volume growth,” Doshi explained.