Micromax has remarkably ousted Samsung to become the first domestic vendor to take the top spot in the Indian smart phone market, the third largest in the world. This incredible performance is partly due to Micromax’s continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smart phones, says a report of research firm Canalys.
The flagship line of products of Micromax has also very effectively targeted the US$150 to US$200 (INR9,000 to INR12,000) segment, with products such as the Canvas Nitro and Canvas Hue. Addressing these important segments has helped it take a 22% share of the total smart phone market in India, ahead of Samsung at 20%, says the report. Canalys’s recently published estimates show that in Q4 2014 in India, 23% of shipments were of devices priced under US$100 (INR6,000), while 41% were of devices in the US$100 to US$200 bracket (INR6,000 to INR12,000).
Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi said, “Canalys believes catering to local market preferences will become increasingly important. Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its Unite phones. Lava, another domestic vendor, has launched devices that cater to the preference for greater battery life – in this case a couple of days. But vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India.”
Overall, the Indian market experienced very strong annual growth of 90%, with 21.6 million units shipping in the quarter. The other major local vendors continued to jostle for third and fourth places. The top four players in Q4 2014 in India by units shipped were Micromax, Samsung, Karbonn and Lava.
Full details of this story are available to clients in the recently published Canalys quarterly country level smart phone estimates.
Samsung contests the report
Samsung has refuted the Canalys report saying it had 34.3 per cent market share in the Indian smartphone market as per GfK data, which is based on actual sales numbers, putting it ahead of the domestic rival.
Snubbing Canalys for “inaccuracy” in data, Samsung said that market research firm GfK gives actual sales figures, which is why it is preferred by the industry.
“We disagree with Canalys. We are not sure of the accuracy of the numbers (of Canalys). One is about shipments (Canalys) and the other reflects consumer sales (GfK). There is a reason that the industry syndicates and prefers GfK data,” Samsung India VP Marketing (Mobile business) Asim Warsi said. GfK numbers are more scientific and reflect retail sales. Therefore, they are closest to consumers and show Samsung’s leadership in the smartphone segment, he added.
According to Samsung, GfK data states that its volume market share during the quarter was 34.3 per cent and the value market share was 35.8 per cent. “Our volume market share in the smartphone market in the year was 35.7 per cent, which is more than double than that of the next player, while our value share was 40.2 per cent, which is more than four times the next player. The GfK data is based on actual retail sales in 50,000-plus population cities,” Warsi said.
Over the last few quarters, Samsung has gradually lost its market share in India to domestic players like Micromax, Lava, Karbonn as well as global rivals like Motorola and Xiaomi. Globally too, Samsung has been facing tough competition from Apple and Chinese tech major Xiaomi.