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Samsung seems to be in trouble in India, at least when it comes to the smartphone market. Rather, according to IDC’s latest quarterly report on the Indian smartphone market, it looks like all international players are losing ground to their Indian counterparts. Although Samsung still tops the list in terms of market share, its share was only 26% in Q2 2013. In contrast, Micromax has strengthened its second position with a 22% market share. The overall market has seen remarkable growth, with 9.3 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2013 compared to 3.5 million in the same period the previous year. But the real star in the smartphone market seems to be the ‘phablet’ (a smartphone with a screen between 5-7 inches). This category grew 17-times, according to IDC! It now constitutes around 30% of the overall Indian smartphone market. That in itself should be an indicator why Samsung is losing ground—it focuses more on its high-end smartphones, largely ignoring the low-end segment. This is a mistake, since 67% of all smartphones shipped in the quarter were priced below R10,000. It is this segment that the Indian players have captured, with reasonably priced phablets and smartphones. And it’s not just Micromax leading the Indian charge; Karbonn saw its marketshare increase to 13% in Q2 2013, placing it at number three on the list, leapfrogging the likes of Nokia and Sony.
The international players seem to have made an error in their strategies on two key elements—price and product. Despite the growth of the middle class, the Indian market is still overwhelmingly looking for a cheap phone. Add to that a large screen and dual-SIM functionality—something the Indian players have been pushing hard—and one can see why they are becoming so popular.