Xiaomi came within striking distance of Samsung’s lead in the Indian smartphone market last year which led many to expect that the company would end up overtaking Samsung in the future. Market research firm Canalys reported yesterday that Xiaomi had indeed overtaken Samsung as the top smartphone vendor in India this past quarter.
Canalys reported that Xiaomi shipped almost 8.2 million units in India this past quarter and accounted for 27 percent of the market while Samsung shipped 7.3 million units for a 25 percent market share. Counterpoint Research also reported that Xiaomi has taken the lead from Samsung in India, it pegged the former’s market share at 25 percent against Samsung’s 23 percent share. Samsung has refuted the reports of losing the lead to Xiaomi in India. The company says that it’s still the number one manufacturer in India “by a distance.”
Sales vs shipments
A spokesperson for Samsung has said that “As per the German research firm GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the last (November) quarter, Samsung had a 45 percent value market share and 40 percent volume market share.”
This is an important distinction that the company is making here. It’s not going by reports of units shipped by market research firms and instead relying on numbers that indicate just how many handsets were actually sold to the end user. A unit can be shipped and stay on retailers’ shelves for months but that still doesn’t count as a sale for the company.
“Samsung is a full range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017. More importantly, Samsung is India’s ‘Most Trusted’ brand. We owe our undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of our consumers in India,” the spokesperson added.
Samsung India’s global vice president Asim Warsi also pointed out this distinction in a recent interview. “German research firm GfK reports final consumption which is the most important measure of market share,” adding that while shipment numbers are important, they don’t tell the final market share. “The real share is what I sold out to my customers and here, we are pretty strong,” he reiterated.
This isn’t the first time that Samsung has relied on Gfk’s data to defend its lead in the Indian smartphone market. Canalys reported back in 2015 that Micromax had overtaken Samsung as the leader in the country’s market. Samsung pointed out back then that it continued to lead the market with a greater volume and value share than Micromax.
Xiaomi hasn’t commented on the matter as yet. The fact remains, though, that Xiaomi has seen incredible growth in India within three years of launch. The company will continue to go after Samsung’s lead in this key market so the Korean giant certainly can’t rest on its laurels.