With the launch of its 2018 flagship smartphones in the Indian market, Samsung has reportedly managed to top the super-premium segment in Q1 2018, leaving behind some of its prominent rivals. The super-premium segment lies above the Rs. 50,000 ($749) price point, which isn't as crowded as the low or mid-end tiers in the Indian market. CMR India's report on smartphone shipments during the first quarter of 2018 suggests that the Galaxy S9 series has outperformed smartphones like Google Pixel 2 and Apple iPhone X in terms of units shipped. In fact, both Google and Apple witnessed a sharp decline in shipments in the said price segment whereas Samsung recorded an upward slope.
According to CMR, despite Apple leading the super-premium segment in India in Q4 2017 with the launch of its iPhone X and iPhone 8 lineup, its shipments declined by 74 percent in Q1 2018 with its market share in the segment falling to 25 percent from 82 percent in the previous quarter. Google, too, recorded its market share drop from 11 percent to 2 percent during the same timeframe. Samsung on the other hand, shipped 180 percent more units of Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus than both Pixel 2 and the entire 2017 iPhone lineup. The South Korean company had announced its latest flagships in India last month at a starting price of Rs. 57,900 ($867) for the Galaxy S9 and Rs. 64,900 ($972) for the Galaxy S9 Plus along with a handful of launch offers, bringing down their effective price. While Apple brought its flagship smartphone iPhone X to the South Asian market at a starting price of Rs. 89,000 ($1,332), which is significantly higher than those of Samsung's offerings.
However, when it comes to the overall smartphone shipments across all price points, Xiaomi lead the pack with a market share of 31 percent, pushing Samsung down to the second spot with a 25-percent share. Similar numbers were also recently provided by another research firm Counterpoint in their report on smartphone shipments during Q1 2018. CMR's report adds that Chinese players grew by 31 percent YoY, while Indian brands recorded a triple-digit growth rate of 128 percent, majorly because of the recent surge in feature phone shipments in the country. Interestingly, 94 percent of the smartphones were made in India during the last quarter after the government's push for local manufacturing, while the imports of feature phone grew by 11 percent.