Samsung might have lost its leadership position to Xiaomi in India’s highly competitive smartphone market, but it did manage to regain the top spot in the premium segment. According to Counterpoint Research, India’s premium smartphone segment remained flat during the first quarter of 2018, but dropped 13 percent sequentially due to decline in promotions.
Samsung regained the top spot from Apple on the back of strong initial demand for its newly launched Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ flagship smartphones. The South Korean electronics major now controls half of the premium segment in the country with 16 percent year-over-year growth. Apart from Galaxy S9 duo, the company also saw strong demand for the offline-centric Galaxy A8+ smartphone. The report adds that Samsung ran multiple promotions both in offline and online channels for the Galaxy S9, including cashback offers, exchange benefits, upgrade, and data bundling programs.
OnePlus held onto the second position, while Apple had a weak first quarter as demand for its iPhone 8 and iPhone X devices declined sequentially. The research firm notes that the top three brands – Samsung, OnePlus and Apple – contributed to 95 percent of the overall premium segment. OnePlus remains the fastest growing brand in the segment with its sales jumping 192 percent to capture 25 percent of the share in the premium segment. It has been holding onto its second spot in the premium segment since Q3 2017.
In the first quarter of 2018, OnePlus 5T was the best-selling model driven by the launch of its limited edition variant and expansion in the offline segment. Counterpoint says the momentum will drive further on the back of highly anticipated OnePlus 6 launch set for May 17 in India.
While Samsung and OnePlus saw growth in their market share in the premium segment, Apple struggled with Counterpoint estimating its sales to have dipped as much as 55 percent due to decline in shipments for its iPhone 8 and iPhone X models. Apple also hiked the price of its iPhone models during this period due to increase in import duty from 10 percent to 20 percent. However, Apple does have a strong following in the country, especially in the online retail segment where almost one in four premium phones sold is an iPhone.
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While Samsung, OnePlus and Apple dominate the segment, Google, Xiaomi, LG and new entrants like HMD Global with Nokia 8 Sirocco and Huawei with its triple camera-based P20 Pro might emerge as winners in the second quarter. Counterpoint had reported early this week that the overall smartphone sales remained flat during the first quarter of 2018.
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