Chinese brands are dominating Indian smartphone market in recent times according to various research reports of IDC and Counterpoint. As a result, Indian brands such as Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, and Reliance LYF brand have seen a downfall in the market share. According to a report from Business Standard, the market share of LYF has come down to 2.5 percent by the end of Q1 2017.
When Indian brands saw a downfall in the market share in 2016, LYF entered the top five list with its VoLTE smartphones. In Q3 2016, LYF accounted 6.9 percent market share, but quickly the market share came down because every brand started using VoLTE on their phones. Currently, brands such as Xiaomi, Micromax, Karbonn are offering VoLTE enabled smartphones under Rs. 6,000.
"LYF's branded smartphones got a major push mostly being an exclusive entry to Jio's preview offer during mid-2016. But later the offer was extended to other smartphone brands and LYF branded smartphones lost their exclusivity post which it was only the price point which remained attractive for some users. However, excess SKUs and without any solid differentiation, LYF branded smartphones could not offer anything new which existing brands are already offering in the market," Tarun Pathak from Counterpoint Research told the publication.
The report further adds that Reliance's child brand have launched 34 new smartphones in the entire 2016, but none of them made an impact on the market.
"Now players like Xiaomi entering sub Rs 6000 with Redmi 4, it will be difficult for LYF to generate scale without a unique or bundled offering which it can easily do with the upcoming Jio ecosystem in place. Hence, it needs a smart marketing ploy to get LYF devices back on demand which are likely to face a tough competition in open market," Pathak further added.
The IDC report of Q1 2017 also showed Chinese brands capturing significant market share in the country. Out of the top five brands, there is four Chinese vendors- Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo, and Vivo accounting 51.4 percent share of the smartphone shipments in India.
"In contrast, the majority of the feature phones are still on 2G network and doesn't support Jio network. One of the objectives of launching "LYF" smartphones by Reliance Jio was seeding the market with VoLTE enabled devices across all price ranges to appeal a wide range of customers. Since the launch of "LYF" all vendors have migrated their majority of smartphone portfolio to VoLTE enabled devices, it makes sense that they should exit this segment," the report further says.
"Going forward we can expect Jio to enter into a new segment, VoLTE feature phone, to target users in rural India to arrest the decline in volumes," Pathak from Counterpoint Research added.