Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is confident that it will be able to retain its No. 1 position in the Indian smartphone market next year too, but industry experts believe that the country may see a different winner in 2020. At the end of the first quarter of 2019, Xiaomi had a market share of 30.6 per cent, far ahead of Samsung, which took the second spot with a share of 22.3 per cent, according to an International Data Corporation (IDC) report. But by the third quarter of 2019, Xiaomi’s market share fell to 27.1 per cent. Samsung too experienced a decline as its share went down to 18.9 per cent, IDC data showed.
“Given the remarkable Q3 2019 strides made by the BBK (parent company of Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus) brands in India, Xiaomi would need to be wary of the rising competition and the decline in its market share. In the first three quarters of 2019, Xiaomi lost three per cent market share,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.
Out of the BBK Group brands, Realme’s rise in the Indian smartphone market has been truly spectacular. From 6 per cent market share in Q1 of 2019, it grabbed 14.3 per cent market share at the end of Q3. Vivo also witnessed its fair share of growth this year. Its share rose from 13 per cent in Q1 to 15.2 per cent in Q3. OPPO did even better than Vivo in terms of growth. OPPO’s share grew from 7.6 per cent in Q1 to 11.8 per cent in Q3, according to IDC.
“As Realme comes with new offerings in the mid-tier and premium segment, and OPPO and Vivo also unveil plans to go premium, Xiaomi faces an uphill battle,” Ram agreed. To retain their numero uno position, Xiaomi would need to go beyond its existing brand imagery and also consolidate its offline play, Ram said.
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“Xiaomi has been able to build on their offline play by building their own chain of Mi Stores, apart from their non-exclusive network of Mi Preferred Partners,” he added. But if Xiaomi loses the top spot in the Indian smartphone market, which brand will replace it?
Just last week, Realme CEO Madhav Sheth said that the company sold over 15 million phones in the very first year of its operations. They are now aiming to double the sale number by 2020. The Chinese smartphone maker began operations in May 2018 and has emerged as one of the fastest-growing smartphone brands in India. Realme has emerged as a formidable opponent to Xiaomi and Samsung in the Indian smartphone market.
Realme has now risen to become the fourth biggest smartphone brand in India in the third quarter, according to IDC. Unlike Vivo and Oppo, Realme aped the strategy of the market leader closely and focussed on online from the start. Both Vivo and Oppo are offline-focussed with investments in channel marketing and offline distribution. Sheth, who founded the company together with BBK Group, also said that Realme is currently the seventh fastest-growing smartphone brand globally.
Written with inputs from IANS