Samsung has been overtaken as the largest seller of smartphones in India by local budget brand Micromax for the first time, according to new research.
The study, from market research firm Canalys, indicates that Micromax accounted for 22% of India’s smartphone shipments in the three months to December, its figures showed.
Samsung’s market share fell to 20%.
He stats are a a big win for Micromax. While the difference between Samsung and Micromax is marginal on the basis of the figures from the fourth quarter of 2014, it is significant that the local firm has beaten the global giant on at least one, albeit important, parameter.
“This incredible performance is partly due to Micromax’s continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smart phones. Its flagship line of products has also very effectively targeted the Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 segment. Addressing these important segments has helped it take a 22 per cent share of the total smart phone market in India, ahead of Samsung at 20 per cent,” Canalys wrote in a blog post.
Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi said that price-sensitivity of the market and the local customisations have helped Micromax.
“Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its Unite phones. (Also) vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India,” he said.
For Samsung the loss of crown in India comes just weeks after Canalys put Xiaomi ahead of the Korean company in China, a very important market given its size. In China too Samsung was earlier number one but now that position is occupied by Xiaomi, a local company.
India is the world’s third-largest smartphone market and many users are upgrading to smartphones for the first time from basic handsets.
More than a quarter of all shipments were for smartphones that cost less than $100 (£65).
As a result, phone makers have rushed to produce basic but affordable smartphones that can appeal to different income groups.