With the Indian smartphone market booming, it’s obvious that the competition amongst the various manufacturers is fierce. Hence, any company gaining or losing a substantial share in the market implies that the difference in the number of units sold could well figure in millions. And that is bound to create a buzz, as was the case with Samsung and Redmi during the third quarter of 2020.
To provide a little background, Samsung has been one of the biggest players in the market for years and has a loyal customer base. Xiaomi, on the other hand, entered the Indian market in 2014 and has been growing ever since, with its sub-brand Redmi becoming one of the most popular smartphone brands in the mid-range segment.
With a rapid increase in the number of smartphone users in the country, and the availability of phones at cheaper rates, middle-tier feature-rich phones have been flying off the shelves, and companies that specialize in the segment have been the biggest gainers. That is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that Xiaomi was the leading smartphone brand in India by the end of 2019, with a market share of around 27%, whereas Samsung ended the year with an 18% share in the market.
Cut to the reports of the third quarter of 2020 and Samsung appears to be leading the race with a share of 24% followed closely by Xiaomi at 23%. And though the margin is slim, and there are reports that say Samsung did not really overtake Xiaomi, it can’t be denied that the company has really upped its game. Here are the factors that led to this change.
Boost in online sales
With the entire nation entering lockdown in March, physical retail of all consumer articles saw a slump. This was also the case in the smartphone market and naturally, a majority of sales that happened this year were through online portals. As a result, companies like Samsung, with a better presence online performed much better than companies like Vivo that are more offline retail-centric.
Capturing the mid-range smartphone market
Irrespective of these reasons, probably the major factor that worked towards the growth of Samsung in this quarter has been its ability to capture the mid-range segment. With the onset of online classes and work-from-home scenarios all through the country, the demand for budget phones peaked. That is where mid-range phones like those of Samsung’s Galaxy A series made a mark.
For example, the Samsung A51, from its Galaxy A series, comes with a 4000mAh battery, Exynos 9611 Octa-core processor, 6GB RAM, Infinity display, 32MP front camera and quad-camera setup at the back. There are also other phones from Samsung that, like the A51, provide a lot of features within budget, and look to compete with models from the likes of Redmi.
Comparing it with Xiaomi Redmi’s flagship model, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, we see it comes with a Snapdragon 720G processor, 5020mAh battery, 4GB RAM, 16MP front camera, and quad-rear camera set-up. This implies that though it has better specifications in terms of processor and battery, it does fall short in the case of the camera and RAM when compared to the Galaxy A51.
Thus, Samsung’s new models that pack a punch within budget, combined with the company’s online presence and geopolitical factors do look like the causes of its recent rise, as compared to the likes of Redmi phones.
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