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India overtakes US as second largest smartphone market; Samsung, Xiaomi top brands

Smartphone shipments in India hit 40 million units for the first time.

  • Published: October 26, 2017 4:31 PM IST

India is world’s second largest smartphone market now, after recovering from a slumping market in the Q3, 2017. The upward growth has helped the country overtake the US, which had been the number two smartphone market globally.

Mobile shipments in India grew 23 percent year-on-year in Q3 to reach over 40 million units for the first time. The growth is attributed to smartphones from two most popular Android brands in India – Samsung, and Xiaomi. The brands shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively, and accounted for almost half of the total market.

With this growth, India now stands only one step behind China. “This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result,” said Canalys Research Analyst Ishan Dutt. “There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.” ALSO READ: Is Samsung too late to the dual-camera game with the Galaxy Note 8?

The Canalys report further lists the other top vendors in the country. Samsung leads the chart, followed by Xiaomi at the second spot, with Vivo, Oppo, and Lenovo attaining the remaining positions in order. These vendors account for 75 percent of total shipments in India. Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain recently announced that the company sold 4 million smartphones in the last month alone. ALSO READ: Mi MIX 2 India launch proves that Xiaomi is more than just a budget smartphone maker


In terms of brand-specific growth, Samsung shipments grew by almost 30 percent compared to Q3 in 2016, while Xiaomi witnessed over 290 percent growth thanks to the range of affordable devices it shipped this year, including the Xiaomi Redmi 4 and Redmi 4A, along with finally stepping into the premium segment with its Mi MIX 2 smartphone.

“Xiaomi’s growth is a clear example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads,” said Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi. “But Xiaomi focuses on the low end. It struggles in the mid-range (devices priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000, where Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are particularly strong. Nevertheless, we predict Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.” ALSO READ: Apple CEO Tim Cook believes Rs 89,000 for iPhone X is a ‘value price,’ but reality begs to differ

Apple, which is still trying to find a way into the Indian smartphone space owing to strict guidelines on setting up manufacturing or retail outlets, has also witnessed growth. The company began local assembling in the country earlier this year with the iPhone SE as the first model. According to Canalys, the California-based company recorded more than double iPhone shipments to 900,000 units in Q3, 2017 as compared to same period last year. The company is now planning to introduce its anniversary-edition iPhone X in the country on November 3.

  • Published Date: October 26, 2017 4:31 PM IST