This year, Samsung is reportedly planning on expanding its presence in the online retail space in India and release a new smartphone series which will be retailed exclusively online in order to compete more closely with Chinese OEMs and Xiaomi in particular. Nearly half of all smartphones distributed in India through online-only channels come from Chinese manufacturers and Xiaomi is enjoying a lot of success in this field, with the top three handsets sold in the third quarter of 2017 reportedly bearing the company's badge.
According to a recent report from The Economic Times citing three unnamed senior industry executives, Samsung is developing a new smartphone series this year, which will be retailed in India exclusively online. This new series will apparently adopt high-end hardware components but will be priced at somewhere between Rs. 5,000 ($78) and Rs. 15,000 ($236) because its main purpose will be to compete directly with Xiaomi's smartphones offered in India through e-commerce channels. Samsung has previously launched smartphones in India exclusively online, with the most successful example of that practice being the Galaxy On series, so it remains to be seen exactly how this new strategy will be different from the OEM's previous approach, should it be altered at all. According to the report, the online-only series will not be released at the cost of the company's offline retail business and Samsung will not neglect its already successful brick-and-mortar stores in the country. In the offline retail space, Xiaomi can't yet compete with the Korean tech giant and Samsung intends this to be the case moving forward, regardless of its future e-commerce efforts.
Xiaomi is enjoying a lot of success in India, where the company managed to secure 23.5 percent of the market over the third quarter of 2017, according to previous research from IDC. Meanwhile, Xiaomi India Managing Director told The Economic Times that the company accounted for almost 50 percent of all online smartphone sales in the country last month. In closing, it's also worth reminding that a lot of times Xiaomi runs various discounts and promotions for its smartphones distributed online, so perhaps Samsung may need to do more than launch a new smartphone series and consider similar strategies in order to establish itself as a strong online handset retailer in India.