Chinese phone makers are on a roll in India, according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker for Q1 of calendar year 2017. The report shows that Chinese phone makers shipped 51.4% of the total smartphones shipped in the Indian smartphone market in this quarter, with year-on-year growth of 142.6% and quarterly growth rate of 16.9%.

Xiaomi, which wasn’t even in the top five list in Q1 2016, is now the second leading smartphone company in India with a market share of 14.2%. It registered a sequential growth of 39.8% in Q1 2017. IDC attributes its success to its budget offerings such as Redmi Note 4 (priced at Rs9,999 onwards) and Redmi 4A (Rs5,999). The Redmi Note 4 also emerged as the highest shipped smartphone in the country in Q1 2017, replacing Samsung’s Galaxy J2 which was the most shipped smartphone in the last quarter of 2016.

Vivo, Lenovo and Oppo occupy the third, fourth and fifth positions, respectively, in terms of market share. Vivo controls 10.5% of the market share and its shipments grew 44% over the last quarter. With a market share of 9.5%, Lenovo has slipped down from the third to fourth slot in Q1 despite the fact that its shipments grew by 33.7%. Oppo has a market share of 9.3% but its shipments grew by just 14%.

The success of Chinese brands can be attributed to their aggressive pricing, better user experience, faster adoption of 4G technology and greater emphasis on cameras. About 62.2% of smartphones shipped by Chinese brands in Q1 2017 had 13-megapixel or higher resolution cameras.

The unshakeable Samsung

South Korean giant Samsung continues to be the number one smartphone company in India with a market share of 28.1%. Though the company registered year-on-year growth of just 1.5% (it controlled 26.5% of the market in Q1 2016), it reported growth of 16.9 % in Q1 2017. Samsung’s success can be attributed to its volume-driven market strategy and launches in the affordable J series and the mid-range C and A series in Q1 2017.

Tough times for Indian companies

Indian companies such as Micromax, Lava, Reliance Jio and Intex which together controlled 40 % market share in Q1 2016, have slumped further and now control just 13.5% of the smartphone market share. “Indian vendors are making attempts to recapture the lost ground with new launches in sub-$100 as well as in the mid-range segment. But intense competition from China-based vendors continues to be a major challenge and is expected to increase in coming quarters," says Jaipal Singh, market analyst, client devices, IDC India.

Positive signs

The Indian market showed a healthy year-on-year growth of 14.8% and quarterly growth rate of 4.7%, claims IDC. Also, a total of 27 million smartphones were shipped in the country in Q1 2017.

People are now spending more on smartphones. The report points out that the average selling price (ASP) of smartphones selling in the country has increased from $131 (approximately Rs8,390) in Q1 2016 to $155 (approximately Rs9,927) in Q1 2017.

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