The Indian smartphone market seems to be turning into a two horse race as per the latest report from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. As the report on the first quarter of 2018, Xiaomi and Samsung between them accounted for 57.3 percent of the Indian smartphone market. Xiaomi continued its surge, extending its run as the leading Indian smartphone brand with a share of 31.1 percent while Samsung came in second with 26.2 percent. The third spot went to Vivo, but its 5.8 percent share was a long way behind the two market leaders – it is not even a quarter of Samsung’s and not even a fifth of Xiaomi’s. So dominant are the top two actually that Honor/Huawei’s entry into the top five at fifth place was tempered by the fact that the brand had just 3.4 percent market share.
This is a far cry from Q1 2017 exactly a year ago, where Samsung had been the leader with 25.9 percent of the market and Xiaomi had 13.1 percent. Of course, it also shows how dramatically Xiaomi has grown – Samsung has actually managed to increase its market share (26.2 percent from 25.9 percent in Q1 2017), but still finds itself in second place, as Xiaomi has more than doubled its share, going from 13.1 percent to 31.1 percent. Xiaomi’s recent growth has been spurred by its offline expansion, but it still remains a major online player with a “record” 57 percent market share.
But impressive though this growth has been, what’s no less surprising is the extent to which the other brands have lost ground. A year ago, Lenovo/Motorola, Vivo, and Oppo were solid contenders for the second spot behind Samsung and breathing down Xiaomi’s neck. As per the Q1 2018 report, however, Vivo and Oppo, the brands at numbers 3 and 4 respectively in the Indian market, together account for less than Vivo’s Q1 2017 market share of 11.9 percent. Vivo and Oppo, in fact, who accounted for almost a fifth of the Indian smartphone market in Q1 2017, with market shares of 11.9 and 9.9 percent respectively, have seen their share being almost halved and now account for 11.4 percent between themselves. And while Honor/Huawei’s arrival in the top five for the first time is a significant development, the fact that the number five smartphone brand in India accounts for a mere 3.4 percent of the market, shows the extent to which the top two brands are dominating the Indian market. Just for the context, in Q1 2017, the fifth spot in the Indian smartphone market was held by Lenovo/Motorola, which accounted for 8 percent of the share. A similar percentage would have seen it get the third spot this year!
The fifth spot is also being hotly contested as per the report. Although Honor/Huawei has grabbed it for now, as per the report, Lava, Micromax, Nokia and Lenovo/Moto are not too far behind. Clearly!
Brands outside the top five accounted for 37.8 percent of the market in Q1 2017. This number is down to 27.9 percent in Q1 2018.
Is the Indian market increasingly becoming a two horse race? We hope not, as it is always good to have lots of competition, especially at the top. Hopefully, the second quarter will change matters a bit.