Chinese Vivo, Realme could soon outpace Korean Samsung

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Published: November 3, 2019 12:37:19 AM

As per the Q3 2019 calendar year numbers from Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi is the market leader with 26% market share.

vivo, realmeChinese brands Vivo and Realme are rapidly bridging the gap with Samsung.

Samsung is facing stiff competition from Vivo and Realme for the number two slot in the Indian smartphone market, which accounts for an annual shipment of almost 145 million units. Although the Korean electronics major upped its ante in the last few quarters, the Chinese brands are fast closing the gap by leveraging a 360-degree online sales and marketing strategy and aided by an array of attractive discounts and schemes.

As per the Q3 2019 calendar year numbers from Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi is the market leader with 26% market share. In fact, the Chinese handset maker’s share never dipped below 25% in the last eight quarters. Samsung with 20% share has also been consistent in its performance in the past two years, ensuring it is the indisputable number two vendor in the world’s second-largest mobile phone market.

On the other hand, Vivo accounted for 17% market share, taking the number 3 slot followed by Realme at 16%.

But analysing the last eight quarter numbers reveals another significant development. While Samsung’s performance during Q3 2019 was its worst in the past two years, Vivo and Realme delivered their best results during the same quarter.

Chinese brands Vivo and Realme are rapidly bridging the gap with Samsung. In fact, the BBK Group, which is the combined holding group of Oppo, Vivo, Realme and OnePlus, captured the top spot in the domestic market for the first time ever with a combined 30% share during the April-June 2019 (CY) quarter.

A top industry executive said Chinese brands have been scorching the smartphone market in India in the past few years starting with an online strategy. Later they expanded to offline channels to further strengthen brand and enhance reach. Also, with the middle class focusing increasingly on online shopping due to attractive discounts, cashbacks and offers, the offline channels have been consistently losing customers, especially in the consumer electronics space.

These brands gained traction as online channels matured in last few years at a breakneck speed with online sites like Amazon and Flipkart upping the ante to attract more shoppers on their platforms. Besides, as smartphone users in India mature in terms of handsets and consuming content, a smartphone has pretty much become central to their lives, taking a priority in terms of their share of wallet, he added.

Another top executive working with a digital marketing firm, who did not wish to be named, explained that Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Realme also continued to expand their product portfolio with attractive advanced features like fast-charging, larger battery, etc, for the mainstream and mass market.

“Another factor in their growth was expansion of e-commerce. Online channels are now serving more cities, including tier II and III towns, coupled with better customer service, attractive promotions like discounts, cashback, zero cost EMIs and exchange offers, which have been pivotal in driving smartphone sales and has also taken over a larger share from the offline channels,” he added.

For instance, Xiaomi, Vivo and Realme delivered their best performance during the July-September quarter of 2019 calendar year (CY). According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi recorded its highest ever shipments driven by good performance of its models in the online segment. Similarly, Realme, too, recorded its highest ever shipment and is the fastest growing brand. Oppo, too, registered its highest ever share in the India smartphone market helped by good performance of its mid-segment series and increased focus on online.

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