Although Samsung Electronics continues to be the dominant Android vendor globally, its dominance in emerging markets such as China and India has been greatly diminished over the past few years thanks largely to the emergence of all-new brands like Xiaomi and Meizu in China and Micromax and Lava in India. Add to that the growing clout of large consumer electronics OEMs like Huawei and Lenovo, it’s no wonder that Samsung has seen its position of preeminence usurped by a whole lot of companies that have slowly but surely eaten away at the South Korean major’s market share by seemingly offering better value-for-money products, with quality hardware at affordable prices. It is in this background that the latest claim from Samsung regarding its market share in India assumes some degree of importance.
According to Mr. Manu Sharma, the director for mobile business at Samsung India Electronics, the company’s smartphone market share in the country went up from 35.1 percent in Q4, 2014 to a high of 45.9 percent in November 2015. While Mr. Sharma didn’t break down sales numbers for individual models, Samsung had launched a whole new ‘Galaxy On’ range of online-only smartphones late last year to compete with the likes of Xiaomi, Lenovo (including Motorola) and Asus, all of whom have hit the ball out the park with their strategy to stick to online retail, thereby cutting costs and passing on the benefits to the consumers. Mr. Sharma was speaking at a press event on Monday, when the company launched two new upper mid-range handsets in the country as part of its 2016 refresh of the Galaxy A-series of handsets.
While Samsung’s lofty claims are yet to be corroborated by a neutral third-party agency, it is quite likely that the company’s recent attention to the online retail segment with high-performance hardware at affordable prices has indeed had the desired effect, but it’s difficult to say that for certain as of now. India’s smartphone market has been expanding faster than any large market anywhere on the planet, and the country recently went past the US to become the second largest smartphone market by volume after China. With LTE now available in over 300 towns across the country, 60 percent of all smartphones sold last year apparently shipped with high-speed 4G data connectivity. As for Samsung, the company launched the 2016 editions of the Galaxy A5 and the Galaxy A7 in the country at its press conference on Monday. While the 2nd-gen Galaxy A5 comes with an MSRP of Rs. 29,400 ($430), the 2016 Galaxy A7 sports a price tag of Rs. 33,400 ($490).