22, Feb 2018

Samsung disputes Xiaomi's emergence as No.1 smartphone vendor in India in Q4 2017

After Xiaomi outstripped Samsung to emerge as the top smartphone vendor in India in the last quarter, Samsung now denies that it actually happened. It cites a report of GfK, a German research firm, which says Samsung has finished with a 40 percent market share in the last quarter, securing the pole position. On the other hand, Xiaomi continues to lay claim to the top saying GfK data only included offline sales ignoring sales via online channels which is its forte.

From the initial days, the Indian smartphone market was dominated by Samsung and HTC primarily due to their experience in smartphone manufacturing and marketing expertise. However, later on, domestic vendors such as Micromax and Intex tried to change the equation by offering affordable smartphones to the Indian masses.

And then came a glut of Chinese manufacturers with their pocket-friendly, but impressively spec'd devices, taking the competition to a different level altogether. Particularly Xiaomi after its foray into the Indian market in 2013 has grown by leaps and bounds over the years.

In the third quarter of 2017, it drew level with Samsung to emerge as the top smartphone vendor in the country. And in the fourth quarter, it dethroned long-reigning Samsung to a second spot.

Not only Xiaomi's offerings are great in terms of price to performance ratio, but also they are backed by strong online sales channels. Now the Chinese manufacturer is also expanding into the offline space by setting up a number of Mi Home Stores and Mi Authorized Stores across the country.

As per International Data Corporation (IDC) report, Xiaomi has captured 26.8 percent of market share in India in the last quarter compared to 24.2 percent share of Samsung. Xiaomi improved upon 23.5 percent market share it had achieved in the third quarter of 2017.

But, Samsung now refutes that Xiaomi outperformed it in the last quarter of 2017. To buttress its claim, it cited the report of German research firm GfK, which says Samsung has notched up 40 percent market share in India remaining at the top.

Samsung India's Global Vice President, Asim Warsi said, "German research firm GfK reports final consumption, which is the most important measure of market share. Shipments are important, but they don't tell the final market share, " Warsi further added, "the real share is what I sold out to my customers and here, we are pretty strong".

On the other hand, Xiaomi India's Global Vice President and Managing Director, Manu Jain has clarified that GfK doesn't represent the true number of shipments since it only includes the offline sales whereas Xiaomi is particularly strong in online sales.

Jain also said that Xiaomi's shipment figures are actual since it doesn't have any secret warehouses where it can dump the unsold units in an apparent dig at Samsung. Xiaomi affirms that in terms of pace its smartphones are, in fact, the fastest selling in the market.

There is no denying that Xiaomi has been gaining ground with its steady sales spurred by excellent marketing techniques. Samsung has to pull up its socks to counter the rise of Xiaomi instead of remaining in denial mode. As Samsung has a vast network of sales channels, both online and offline, and years' of experience in the smartphone manufacturing it certainly knows how to play its card. We must brace up for a serious battle to unfold between the two.