Chinese handset vendor Xiaomi displaced Samsung to become India’s top smartphone maker after shipping 8.2 million units in Q4 2017, Canalys said.

In a statement Ishan Dutt, Canalys research analyst, said Xiaomi’s persistence had paid off and the results were particularly commendable given it had only entered the market three years ago: “Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi’s growth, but the key reason for its success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally,” he said.

Samsung had to settle for second place on shipments of 7.3 million units, an increase of 17 per cent year-on-year. Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo rounded out the top five.

In total, the Indian smartphone market grew a “modest” 6 per cent overall year-on-year to just shy of 30 million units. Canalys said the low growth was due to a seasonal dip following a busy Q3.

Power struggle
Xiaomi and Samsung are notably dominant, with a combined market share of more than 50 per cent: 27 per cent for Xiaomi and 25 per cent Samsung.

Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi said Samsung’s loss of the top spot stems from an “inability to transform its low-cost product portfolio”.

Doshi believes the South Korea-based vendor failed to transform its low cost product portfolio, and “lost market share” to Xiaomi in the sub-INR15,000 ($236) segment.

“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 [the] minds of Indian consumers,” he added.