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First quarter: Samsung 1, OnePlus 0

In the first quarter of 2018, Samsung boasted a 50% share in the premium smartphone market

May 8, 2019 by Moulishree Srivastava
First quarter: Samsung 1, OnePlus 0

Samsung has gained ground on OnePlus in India’s premium smartphone segment (>Rs 30,000) in the first quarter of 2019 by capturing 44% market after chasing the Chinese rival’s tail for the past three quarters.

Samsung has now an 18% lead over OnePlus in the niche segment.

Meanwhile, Apple’s market share dropped by a percentage point to 19% as compared to a year ago, according to the data released by research firm Counterpoint.

"In the premium segment, Samsung surpassed OnePlus to become the number one player driven by the good response for its newly introduced Galaxy S10 series," said Anshika Jain, analyst with Counterpoint Technology Market Research.

All segments considered, Samsung stood at 23%, behind Xiaomi's 29% market share.

"Every brand in premium has a different quarter launch cycle. For Samsung, it is late Q1, OnePlus's is Q2 and Apple's is Q4. So initial spike of Galaxy 10 series gave Samsung lead, but yes OnePlus can recover the (market) share," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research.

OnePlus is gearing up for OnePlus7 launch on May 14. In the first quarter of 2018, Samsung boasted a 50% share in the premium smartphone market, while in Q2, with OnePlus 6 launch, the Pete Lau-founded company overtook the South Korean consumer electronics giant for the first time with 40% market share, while the latter stood at 34%.

"Additionally, Google Pixel will also have a play but since premium market is expanding, it is more like capturing the new demand than taking competitors share in this segment," Pathak added.

Counterpoint estimates India’s premium segment to grow by 30% in 2019 due to rising incomes, increasing competition, and high spending power of the consumers.

According to a recent report by research firm TechArch, Samsung’s Galaxy S series witnessed the least uptick in pricing at 8% compared to Apple’s iPhone at 20% price rise with every new addition to the flagship series.

"Samsung is the only brand which has also decreased the price with new edition launch of the Galaxy S series. It launched S8 and S9 at the same price of Rs 57,900 in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The recently launched S10 was announced with a 3% reduced price of Rs 55,900 comparing the previous edition," the report said.

Samsung has been trying to be economical in pricing to fend off aggressive Chinese competitors. In the first quarter of 2019, Chinese brands captured 66% Indian smartphone market.

"Xiaomi remains the market leader driven by new product launches. However, it faced strong market competition as compared to a year ago. Samsung did a major refresh in its product portfolio by launching a new online-only M series. It also undertook a product refresh of the A series during the quarter. The new A series and M series launches quickly contributed to three-fifths of Samsung’s total smartphone shipments during the quarter," Jain said.

Moulishree Srivastava

Moulishree Srivastava is a Bangalore-based tech journalist. She focuses on emerging Indian startups and unicorns. She can be reached at moulishree@thepassage.cc.

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