How Samsung plans reclaiming lost market share from Chinese brands in India

SAMSUNG

Xiaomi has emerged as the second biggest smartphone brand in India after Samsung. In the past four years, the Chinese brand has been able to capture a market share of 20 per cent in the smartphone segment.

Besides, there are Chinese brands such as Lenovo, Vivo, and Oppo which are cannibalising the market share of Samsung in India. Experts also believe the Chinese smartphone makers have captured a larger market share of the South Korean phone company in the country.

Samsung, however, denies any such significant loss of the market share at the hands of aforementioned brands. It is rather pushing itself more aggressively in India, which is the second largest and the fastest growing smartphone market in the world.

The South Korean phone company has adopted a new strategy that lays emphasis on consumers more than the competition.

It’s launching devices in the range between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000 in a highly competitive market. This week, it launched four new smartphones in its Galaxy “A” and “J” Series- which are priced between Rs 13,990 to Rs 25,990.

The company defended the high price of smartphones as it is not solely focused on bringing down the prices of its devices to stay ahead in the competition. It believes that more than the price, the Indian consumer is now looking for the right value in the products.

The company’s belief is based on the changing market scenario as the average selling price (ASP) of smartphones in India has increased over the years and it will continue to go up.

“We are heavily investing in this country – whether it is manufacturing or R&D. We are preparing ourselves from every aspect to be able to grow alongside India’s mammoth smartphone market. We are a market leader not only in the premium but across categories, across segments. We expect to continue this momentum,” according to Mohandeep Singh, Senior Vice-President, Mobile Business, Samsung India.

Samsung has five R&D centres in India — two in Bengaluru and one each in Noida, New Delhi and Pune. Last year, the company announced an investment of Rs 4,915 crore in India to boost the capacity of the company’s Noida plant, where it manufactures smartphones, refrigerators and flat panel televisions.

Despite the company’s tall claims, Samsung has lost a huge market share in India since Chinese brands made inroads in the country. In February this year, IDC released a detailed report on the market share of smartphones in the country in 2017.

In the report, Samsung led the market with over 24 per cent market share followed by Xiaomi with over 20 per cent share followed by other Chinese brands such as Lenovo, Vivo and Oppo.

In premium category, another Chinese brand Oneplus claims to have emerged as the single largest brand with 48 per cent market share. With a close competition among rivals, the Indian smartphone market, which is expected to show a double-digit growth in 2018, is poised to see an aggressive fight between Samsung and the rest.

The story was first published in ET.

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