Xiaomi has emerged as the leading smartphone vendor in India in terms of shipments for two consecutive quarters now, according to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest tracker, published 14 May, for Q1 2018. The Chinese phonemaker now has a market share of 30.3%, up from 26.8% in December quarter, while Samsung which held 24.2% of the market in last quarter, now has a market share of 25.1%.

The IDC report is in line with Counterpoint Research’s latest report for the same quarter, even though the numbers vary a little. According to Counterpoint report, Xiaomi’s market share in Q 2018 was 31.1%, while Samsung’s market share was 26.2%.

Xiaomi’s continued focus on offline expansion has improved the brand’s visibility in India while a series of new launches such as the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi 5A added to their market share in the March quarter, claims the IDC report.

Transsion Holdings replaces Lenovo

In a major shakeup at the top, Oppo has climbed up to the third spot with a market share of 7.4%, up from 4.9% in December quarter. Vivo slipped down from third to fourth even though its market share remained almost static at 6.7%. Lenovo has been pushed out from the top five list of smartphone vendors. It is replaced by a newcomer Transsion Holdings which sells its phones through both offline and online channels under various sub-brands such as Itel, Infinix and Tecno. In the Counterpoint report too, Lenovo was replaced by Huawei in the top five with market share of 3.4%.

OnePlus rules the premium segment

In terms of overall market performance, a total of 30 million smartphones were shipped in Q1 2018, registering an year-on-year (YoY) growth of 11%. The more premium ($600 plus) segment registered stronger YoY growth of 68% due to the roll out of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S9. In the $ 400 to $ 600 segment, OnePlus was the market leader with 50% market share.

How phonemakers can avoid high import duty

“The recent import duty hike on PCBs (printed circuit boards), camera modules and connectors by the Indian government, definitely puts cost pressure on the smartphone companies, till such time that they set up lines for CKD (Complete Knock Down) type of manufacturing to reduce this impact," said Upasana Joshi, Senior Market Analyst, IDC India. According to the IDC report, this will put a lot of pressure on phone companies. However, vendors will have to set up SMT (Surface Mount Technology) units in the country if they want to avoid the higher import duties. Xiaomi set up its first SMT unit in Tamil Nadu in April 2018 in collaboration with Foxcon to begin assembly of PCBs in India.

Feature phones still in demand

Feature phones are not going away anytime soon. The IDC report claims the roll out of 4G in feature phones has revived interest in them. The segment registered a QoQ growth of 50% with Reliance Jio leading the table with market share of 38.4%, followed by Samsung (10.4%) and Transsion holdings (7.9%).

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