Budget smartphone maker Micromax outdistanced Samsung Electronics in the fourth quarter as the leading supplier in India’s buoyant smartphone market, research firm Canalys said. Samsung disputed the rankings, saying it was still a clear leader in the category with a volume market share of 34.3 percent in the October-December 2014 quarter, citing data from market research firm GfK.
Research firm Canalys has released its findings for Q4 2014 smartphone shipments in India.
The data shows that Micromax has now surpassed Samsung to claim top spot in the country, as its smartphone shipments reached 4.6 million units in the previous quarter.
Overall sales in the region surged 90 percent year on year to reach 21.6 million smartphones in the last quarter. Micromax accounted for 22 percent of smartphone sales in India in Q4 2014, while Samsung’s 4.4 million units grabbed 20 percent of the regional sales. Karbonn and Lava followed behind in third and fourth place, accumulating 2 million and 1.8 million units respectively. However, sales from other retailers leap up two million units between the third and fourth quarter, reaching 9 million in total in Q4. The Indian smartphone market is still very diverse, with a number of low-cost players all vying for market positions.
“The other report takes into account smartphone shipments. At Samsung we go by retail sales,” Asim Warsi, marketing vice president of Samsung’s India mobile business told Reuters. Samsung said it has a manufacturing facility in India, which could have resulted in a mismatch in calculating shipment levels. “The number of smartphones we retail in India is more than double than that of the next player,” Warsi said.
India, which has the world’s second-highest number of mobile phone accounts after China, is the third-biggest market by number of smartphones sold. Low-priced smartphones are the top sellers in a country where many buyers are upgrading from feature phones.
Canalys said Micromax’s performance was partly due to its continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smartphones. It estimated nearly a quarter of smartphones sold in India in the fourth quarter were devices priced under $100, while 41 percent of devices sold were in the $100-$200 range.
Micromax has redoubled its efforts in these segments, partnering with Cyanogen in launching an online-only sub-brand called Yu. The first handset, dubbed Yu Yureka, comes with CyanogenMod out of the box and is now available for sale exclusively on Amazon India. After losing momentum in the budget segment, Samsung has also stepped up its momentum in this category with the launch of the Z1, the vendor’s first Tizen-based handset.
It’s tough to know who to believe, especially with such a large discrepancy between the estimates. We saw a similar situation last year, where different research firms had posted conflicting results for Micromax and Samsung. The true figure probably lies somewhere between the two.
India’s flourishing handset market is a new gold rush for savvy smartphone brands and there’s clearly plenty of competition between the regional players and the big global brands!