Samsung Leads Smartphone Market In India, Xiaomi Second

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South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung continued to lead the Indian smartphone market in Q4 2016, while Xiaomi was the second-largest smartphone vendor in India during the same period as the Chinese company shipped 3 million devices, according to a recent report published by market research firm Canalys. Indian brands like Micromax, Intex and Lava lost a significant amount of market share during the quarter, mostly because of the central government's controversial decision to demonetize Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 banknotes without any prior warning in a country that still does most of its transactions via cash. According to an industry analyst Rushabh Doshi, the three brands together accounted for as much as 30 percent of the fragmented Indian market during Q4 2015 but lost a significant chunk of their market share to their Chinese rivals last year. Their combined market share amounted to only 11 percent at the end of the final quarter of 2016.

Meanwhile, even as the Indian brands were falling by the wayside, Samsung retained its firm grip on the number one spot in India with 6.2 million shipped units during the final quarter of the year, accounting for a 22% share of the overall market. As for Xiaomi, the company moved away from its online-only retail strategy last year in an effort to reach out to a larger, more mainstream consumer base. By all accounts, the strategy to sell its products through brick-and-mortar outlets across the country has been a roaring success, catapulting the company to the number two spot on the country's list of largest smartphone vendors. Xiaomi recently announced that it earned $1 billion in revenue in India last year.

This study conducted by Canalys also confirms earlier reports of the phenomenal growth of Chinese smartphone companies in India over the past couple of years. That being the case, three other China-based brands have now entered the top-five list in India alongside Xiaomi. OPPO came in at number three with a 9% share of the country's smartphone market during the past quarter, followed by Lenovo and Vivo, all of which did their part in pushing the leading Indian smartphone vendors out of this list.

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