Mumbai: Samsung Electronics aims to double its online smartphone sales in India this year to $1 billion, driven largely by a new budget range of devices, the head of its mobile business for the country said on Wednesday.

Smartphones and fashion are among the most popular purchases in India's fast-growing e-commerce market, which Deloitte expects to more than treble between 2017 and 2021 to $84 billion.

The South Korean tech giant in February launched its M-series phones in India, which are sold only through Samsung's website and's local unit.

That range of devices, priced between 7,990 ($114.23) and 17,990 ($257.20), has sold over 2 million units since launch and will help Samsung double its online sales, Asim Warsi, senior vice president of Samsung India, told Reuters in an interview.

"Business-to-consumer sales in the online market are expected to be $4.5 billion this year and, if that is so, we should be around 25% of the market," Warsi said.

Samsung is facing stiff competition in the world's second-biggest smartphone market, where it was once the clear leader, from rivals like China's Xiaomi Corp, which sells the bulk of its cheap, high-spec phones online.

Hong Kong-based tech researcher Counterpoint pegged Xiaomi's market share by shipments at 29% in the quarter to March, ahead of Samsung on 23%.

Samsung, which assembles all phones it sells in India locally, has fought back by reshuffling its smartphone portfolio, launching the M-series, which is only sold online, and an A-series that sells offline as well.

"All of these launches are keeping us in very good double-digit growth nick," Warsi said, adding Samsung would launch a new M-series phone in June priced around 20,000 rupees.

Samsung's total mobile phone sales in India touched 37,350 crore in the 12 months to end-March 2018, according to regulatory filings.

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