The US and other regions are now heavily saturated with smartphone users, so tech's biggest companies have their eyes on India as the next key battleground to compete for market share. In the second quarter, Samsung and Xiaomi continued to lead all other competitors, with each company shipping 9.9 million smartphones in the country, according to new numbers from Canalys.
Together, Samsung and Xiaomi made up 60 percent of India’s total mobile shipments, which is a jump from 43 percent last year. Vivo and Oppo round out the list, tallying 11 percent and 10 percent of shipments, respectively. Samsung’s most popular model was the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro, a phone initially aimed at students in South Korea that curiously has no access to the internet. Xiaomi, on the other hand, sold 3.3 million units of the Redmi 5A, a budget version of its Redmi Note 5.
Samsung saw its best quarter since 2015
Both companies grew substantially in Q2. Xiaomi grew more from last year’s Q2 by jumping from 18 percent share to 30, while Samsung saw its best quarter since 2015. Canalys analyst TuanAnh Nguyen said in a statement that Samsung was “hitting back” against Xiaomi: “It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities.”
Apple did not do as well as its rivals. In Q1 this year, Apple demonstrated it was falling short in the category as customers in the region chose more affordable midrange and low-range alternatives to iPhones. Again, in Q2 it saw its market share overtaken by Chinese companies Vivo and Oppo, which sold 3.6 and 3.1 million. Taiwan-based Asus also nearly tripled its shipments compared to Q1. Apple’s iPhone shipments continued to fall in Q2 by about 50 percent.
Still, Apple has a long-term strategy in India that Canalys analysts predict will pay off later. It emphasizes its brand over selling millions of shipments, meaning that it can reel in a higher profit margin per device. That’s not to say the tech giant has given up its hopes of getting iPhones into the hands of millions in India, however. Last month, Apple started local production of the iPhone 6S in India, as a move to battle domestic tariffs posed by the Indian government and to appeal to consumers looking for cheaper iPhones.