China-based device vendors continued to strengthen their grip on the Indian smartphone market in Q1, taking a 51.4 per cent share of shipments in the country according to IDC.

While Chinese companies saw their share surge, with smartphone shipments rising 142.6 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, Indian makers’ share of the market fell to 13.5 per cent from 40.5 per cent in Q1 2016.

The four largest Chinese manufacturers – Xiaomi, Vivo, Lenovo and Oppo – boasted a combined 43.5 per cent market share (see chart below, click to enlarge).

However, Samsung continued to lead the market in terms of stand-alone market share during the period, and Apple will likely shake the tree during Q2 and beyond after confirming it started manufacturing its iPhone in the country, with the goal of churning out between 25,000 and 50,000 units a month.

IDC said the Chinese vendors have shifted the value of the mass market segment from under $100, to between $100 and $200, with almost two-thirds of smartphones sold by Chinese vendors in Q1 falling into the latter range.

Smartphone average selling prices increased from $131 in Q1 2016 to $155 in Q1 2017.

“[H]omegrown vendors are making attempts to recapture the lost ground with new launches in sub-$100 as well as in the midrange segment,” said Jaipal Singh, IDC market analyst: “But intense competition from China-based vendors continues to be a major challenge and is expected to increase in coming quarters.”

Smartphone shipments in India increased 14.8 per cent year-on-year to 27 million units in Q1, recovering quickly from the impact of a government strategy to remove high-value currency notes from circulation in Q4 2016. Late in 2016 Indian mobile phone makers cut working hours and output amid a slowdown in device sales caused by the initiative, with smartphone sales in the final months of 2016 down as much as 35 per cent.

Almost all (94.5 per cent) of smartphones shipped in India during Q1 were 4G-enabled models, IDC stated.

For the first time a smartphone from a China-based vendor was the top model, as the Redmi Note 4 replaced Samsung’s Galaxy J2, which topped the table in Q4 2016.

Online channel shipments in Q1 2017 grew 7.7 per cent year-on-year, representing almost one-third of total shipments. Direct internet channels (vendor websites) accounted for 4 per cent of shipments during the quarter.