India is one of the fastest growing smartphone market in the world where Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi is giving sleepless nights to Samsung and Apple. A study finds out how Xiaomi has managed to make deep inroads into the Indian mobile handset market, writes Archana Khatri Das

NEW DELHI, APRIL 7, 2017: One-third of India’s Android smartphone users plan to replace their handset in 6-months time; and guess, what would be the preferred choice for the upgrade? A Boston-based advisory and research firm — Strategy Analytics — has found that that most Indians now prefer to purchase a Xiaomi (Mi) phone over a Samsung or Apple.

The study added that consumers have shown preference for network speed and processor performance over the marketing planks of better camera quality, larger screen size and better resolution. The study says 26% favoured a Xiaomi phone, 12% said that they would like to upgrade with a Samsung, and the same number of consumers showed a preference for an Apple iPhone. Motorolo and Lenovo, each got 11% of consumer votes. Even though Micromax holds around 11% of the market share among Indian handset makers, only 2% of those surveyed voted in favour of the home-grown brand.

The majority of Indian buyers seek phones in the price range varying between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000, said the report, adding that the premium phone segment, with a price tag of more than Rs 35,000, stood at only 6%. Mi phones are witnessing buoyant growth in the Indian market. The company claims that one out of every four smartphones sold online is a Xiaomi phone.

Xiaomi’s offline retail push by tying-up with large distributors Redington, Just Buy Live, Innocomm, StoreKing and YMS Mobitech has played a key role in ringing high sales numbers for the company. The Chinese smartphone company has also expanded its online presence by tying up with more players like Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm and Tata CLiQ, other than Flipkart.

As per the industry handsets sales data for the quarter ended December 2016, Samsung leads the market with 25.1% share, followed by Xiaomi at 10.7% market share. Lenovo-Motorola have 9.9% market share and Oppo and Vivo with 8.6% and 7.6% pie of the Indian market.

According to David Kerr, Senior Vice-President, Strategy Analytics: “Indian Android smartphone owners are tech savvy with definite brand preferences and specification requirements.  It is striking how poorly Micromax is rated in terms of purchase consideration relative to its position in the market. Clearly a pool of dissatisfaction exist which One Plus, Xiaomi and others are stepping in to address. With Nokia reentering the market this month, a powerful emotive brand will be added as an option to those dissatisfied with the current status quo. Micromax as well as Sony, LG, Lenovo and Motorola have cause for concern.”

Rajeev Nair, Senior Analyst commented “Xiaomi for the first time since it started operations in the Indian market was ranked among the top three vendors in Q4 2016. The vendor grew a whopping 125% YoY and 17% QoQ and captured 10% of market share in India in the quarter.”  Further evidence of Xiaomi gaining ground in India is provided by our Smartphone Model Tracker (SMT) program which shows  that the vendors had four models in the top-20 list.

Indian Smartphone: Preferred Brands vs Share of Installed Base Android Users

 Vendor   Share Android Panel   % Preferred Brand for Next Smartphone
 Xiaomi  16%  26%
 Samsung  18%  12%
 Lenovo  11%  6%
 Motorola  11%  7%
 Micromax  9%  2%
 Apple  ~  12%
 One Plus  2.4%  6%

Source: Strategy Analytics Inc.

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