Samsung is returning to growth in India smartphone market in the second quarter of 2018, a Canalys report said on Thursday.
Samsung earlier lost its smartphone market dominance to Xiaomi in India.
Samsung and main rival Xiaomi each shipped 9.9 million smartphones to India last quarter, said the report.
Samsung and Xiaomi account for 60 percent of total shipments in India against 43 percent a year ago. Xiaomi more than doubled its shipments from a modest base, just putting it in first place.
Samsung’s annual growth rate, at nearly 50 percent, was the best since Q4 2015, leaving it hair’s breadth behind Xiaomi in second place.
Vivo is the third leading smartphone brand in India with shipments of 3.6 million in the second quarter.
Oppo is the fourth largest smartphone supplier with shipments of 3.1 million.
India smartphone shipments grew 22 percent to just under 33 million units in the second quarter of 2018, according to Canalys.
Samsung has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities with Portrait Dolly and Background Blur Shape functions.
Canalys said the J2 Pro was Samsung’s top smartphone model in Q2 2018, with 2.3 million units in India.
Xiaomi shipped 3.3 million of its Redmi 5A.
“Despite Xiaomi’s growing popularity in India, Samsung will remain the first choice for consumers. Its technological prowess and supply chain mastery will continue to give it an edge over Xiaomi for the foreseeable future,” Canalys Analyst TuanAnh Nguyen said.
Smaller phone vendors are not giving up and continue to rewrite their business strategies with a view to long-term sustainability and profitability.
Asus recently changed its India strategy and moved from a distributor-driven go-to-market model to a single partner, online-first strategy with Flipkart.
Asus’ shipments almost tripled since the previous quarter.
Oppo, which saw shipments fall to 2.2 million in Q4 2017, launched an online-only brand, Realme, challenging Xiaomi.
“Samsung and Xiaomi often distract from the opportunities that India has to offer smaller and leaner smartphone vendors looking for additional business opportunities,” Canalys Research Manager Rushabh Doshi said.
Apple’s iPhone shipments to India fell by about 50 percent in Q2 2018. Apple’s paring back of distributor partners and move to a brand-first, volume-next strategy will reap rewards as it will ensure better margin per device, Canalys said.