Tech giant Samsung is confident of regaining its leadership position in volume terms in the hyper-competitive Indian smartphone market this year on the back of new products like the recently launched India-first ‘M’ series. Samsung Electronics President and CEO (IT & Mobile Communications Division) D J Koh said the company has been the market leader in terms of revenue in the October-December quarter as well as the entire 2018 calendar year.
“They (Xiaomi) are number one in terms of shipment, but in terms of revenue Samsung is a dominant number one in Indian market not only in the fourth quarter of last year but full 2018, Samsung was number one. But in terms of a number of devices, I want to bring back my position in volume terms,” he told reporters here.
Koh noted that Samsung is heavily invested in the Indian market with its largest mobile manufacturing facility and experience centre located in the country. “We are not relaxed, we will keep going… we have our own long-term roadmap… We are listening to our partners and customers…,” he said.
While Samsung usually cites GfK data, reports from other research organisations like IDC and Counterpoint have been positioning Xiaomi to be ahead of Samsung (in terms of units shipped) for many quarters now. Samsung has been a full-range player, offering devices in the sub-Rs 10,000 category as well phones like its flagship S10+, whose top-end model comes at a price tag of almost Rs 1.18 lakh.
According to Counterpoint, Xiaomi had a 28% share of the shipment volume in 2018, while Samsung had a 24% share. However, in the premium category (Rs 30,000 and above), Samsung led the segment for 2018 with 34% share.
India, which is among the largest smartphone markets globally, is also a fiercely competitive one. Mass and mid-price range devices account for the lion’s share of the market. On risks in the Indian market, Koh listed competitors as one of the risk factors.
“In terms of the risk, always in the market, the risk is competitors. When the competitors are working, if there is anything to learn, we learn from them… but sometimes they are faster than us… and if it is accepted by local consumers, that’s a risk,” Koh said.
Koh also said the company is focussed on ’embracing’ the broad range of customer needs in India, particularly that of millennials and Gen Z.
“…we must make the products affordable as well as attract with technology innovation. That is the result brought into India by M series. I think M series will support the volume of the market share,” he noted.
Koh had last year stated that the company has “changed” its strategy for mass and mid-price phones to bring in innovation across its smartphone range.
In January, Samsung had introduced its Galaxy M smartphones in the country — a series designed ground up in India — and said it would help the company achieve strong double-digit growth in 2019. It has also unveiled new devices under its A series.
Samsung Wednesday launched its latest flagship devices — S10, S10+ and S10e — that will compete for head-on with the likes of Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Pixel and OnePlus in the premium smartphone market in India. Asked if the company will introduce its ‘Galaxy Fold’ in the Indian market, Koh answered in the affirmative.
“Indian market is the most important market, not only in terms of investment but in terms of long term commitment. Why won’t I deliver my latest technology here, I will,” he added.
The 5G-enabled Galaxy Fold — which boasts of a 7.3-inch “foldable display” — is slated to be available in the US towards April-end, starting at USD 1,980.