Samsung Loses Smartphone Market Share to Micromax in India


Samsung Electronics Co., the most popular smartphone manufacturer in the world, has had some bad news after a research firm posted data that shows a declining market share in India. Shortly after the Korean company posted a decline in worldwide sales, new data suggests that the company has just lost its top spot as the largest smartphone manufacturer in India.

According to data from Canalys, Micromax had 22 percent market share in the Indian smartphone market during a three-month period ending on Dec. 31. By contrast, Samsung only had 20 percent market share, thus losing the crown as the biggest smartphone manufacturer of the country. This is the first time Samsung has been dethroned from the top position by an Indian manufacturer.

Micromax had, however, overtaken Samsung in terms of sales of all kinds of mobile phones, including feature phones, about six months ago. According to data from Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research, the Korean company lost market share to Micromax thanks to the myriad of mobile phones offered to the customer base in India.

India is a growing country with a booming smartphone industry. In the fourth quarter last year, about 21.6 million smartphones were shipped in the country, which is a whopping 90 percent year-on-year growth. That makes India the third-largest smartphone market in the world in terms of the number of devices shipped.

Canalys said that of all the smartphones that were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2014, 23 percent were priced below the $100 range while 41 percent were between $100 to $200. Micromax happens to have most of its smartphones in the $150-$200 price range. Even its flagship phones fall within this price range, which include Canvas Hue and a few other smartphones.

Being a local brand, it was difficult for Micromax to gain traction in the Indian smartphone market, but the company played cleverly to slowly build up its reputation to a point where it defeated an international brand in sales figures. The popularity of Micromax is due to its affordable price point and various features that cater to the local audience, such as built-in local languages which help first time smartphone users get used to navigating around the device and performing various tasks.

An analyst from Canalys also said that Micromax’s continuous efforts to turn feature phone users into smartphone users have paid off. The company has managed to build up appeal for its smartphones to its customer base. This has been possible because Micromax has been ahead of its competitors when it comes to catering to local market preference.

Behind Micromax and Samsung, the third and fourth position has been bagged by two other homegrown manufacturers, Lava and Karbonn Mobile. Both of these companies are also trying to make smartphones that cater to the local audience with various features such as multiple local languages.

Ahead of the news of Samsung losing market share to Micromax, the Korean company also posted a decline in its global sales figure in the fourth quarter last year. The company will presumably try to gain its foothold back in any way possible. It is scheduled to unveil its next flagship phone, Samsung Galaxy S6, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this March. But to gain the market share back in India, Samsung has to redesign its pricing strategy and introduce more smartphones that are affordable to the average Indian.

By Aminul Islam Sajib

The Wall Street Journal
Financial Time

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