Samsung Eletronics says it expects to increase its smartphone market share in India during the ongoing festive season, even though most online retailers are reporting a massive surge in sales of attractively-priced handsets from Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, LeEco, Meizu, Coolpad etc. At the top-end too, the discontinuation of the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 has meant an expected surge in sales of Apple’s iPhones, although Samsung India claims that the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge are also seeing increased demand from consumers in the country. According to a report published by one of India’s leading business dailies, Economic Times, the vice president of Samsung India's mobile unit, Manu Sharma, said that the company is confident it will be able to grow its sales and market share during the festive quarter.
Towards that end, Samsung says it is phasing out its 3G devices in India, and will henceforth concentrate only on 4G-enabled handsets in the country because of the continuing rollout of LTE services by multiple operators over the past year. The company also claims that sales of its two current flagships have doubled since the Galaxy Note 7 was scrapped earlier this month. Samsung is currently the largest smartphone vendor in India, and according to New York-based market research firm, IDC, the company had a 25.1% share of the market during the second quarter of this year. While it isn’t quite clear how badly the Galaxy Note 7 episode will hurt the company in the long run, some reports suggest that the company may lose as much as $17 billion in sales because of the fiasco. One of the polls conducted at the height of the controversy also suggested that a large number of current Samsung customers would rather look at a different brand for their next purchase.
It remains to be seen if Samsung will be able to retain its number one spot in India in the long run, given all the negative publicity of the past few weeks. Add to that the growing competition from Apple iPhones and Google at the top-end and Chinese firms at the mid-range and entry-level segments, Samsung has its work cut out if it has to retain its crown in the world’s third-largest smartphone market. Not only will the company have to keep innovating to stay on top of things, it will have to make sure that it avoids the sort of gaffes that we saw unfold over the past few weeks.