Canalys: India Overtakes US to Become the Second Largest Smartphone Market
Canalys has announced that India has overtaken the United States to become the second largest smartphone market in the world. After shipments slowed down in Q2 2017, the Indian smartphone market bounced back in Q3 2017, with 23% growth in shipments year-on-year to reach just over 40 million shipments.
The reports illustrates Xiaomi’s exponential growth in the Indian smartphone market as it states that Samsung and Xiaomi were the two top smartphone vendors in India in Q3 2017. Samsung, which shipped 9.4 million units, and Xiaomi, which shipped 9.2 million units, accounted for nearly half of the total smartphone market. The top five vendors – Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo – continued to post strong growth this quarter.
According to Canalys Research Analyst Ishan Dutt, this growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. He noted that doubts about India’s market potential were clearly dispelled by this result. He went to state that there are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter. He also said that India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. He predicted that growth would continue in the Indian smartphone market as low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.
The market continues to slowly concentrate among the top players as the top five vendors accounted for 75% of total shipments in India. Samsung shipped 9.4 million smartphones, which is almost 30% more than in Q3 last year. Placed in second position, Xiaomi increased shipments by over 290% to 9.2 million units.
Canalyst Analyst Rushabh Doshi said that Xiaomi’s growth is an example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads. According to Mr. Doshi, Xiaomi focuses on the low-end price bracket but struggles in the mid-range price bracket – to be more specific, it struggles in the price bracket between INR 15,000 and INR 20,000 [$230 and $310]), which is where phones made by Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are doing well in the market.
Canalys predicted that “Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.” This means that Xiaomi’s shipments are growing at a higher rate than those from Samsung. While Xiaomi was not even in the top five vendors two years ago, it is now catching up. The Managing Director of Xiaomi India has stated that their goal is to become the number one smartphone manufacturer in India.
Overall, the Indian smartphone market may seem to have stabilized, but it is still growing rapidly. While Indian OEMs such as Micromax, Lava, Intex, etc, have seen their fortunes fall, it has been quite the opposite story for Xiaomi and its competitors Oppo and Vivo, which have used polar opposite sales strategies to grow, proving there is space in the smartphone market for even multiple strategies (online sales only vs. heavy focus on offline retail) to work well with consumers.