Samsung may be the leader in the burgeoning Indian mobile market, but the Korean handset giant is losing ground in one of the world's largest markets as it faces stiff competition from rivals like Micromax, Karbonn, Lava and Microsoft (Nokia).
According to the latest data from CyberMedia Research (CMR), Samsung is "losing its earlier firm grip" with its share declining to 16.5 per cent at the end of December 2014 from 20.3 per cent at the beginning of the year.
According to the research firm's India Monthly Mobile Handsets Market Review - for calendar year (CY) 2014, India mobile handsets market grew by 4 per cent to 257 million units in terms of shipments over 2013. Of this, Samsung captured 16.5 per cent of the shipments, followed by Micromax and Microsoft (Nokia) at 13.3 per cent each, it added.
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"However, Samsung was seen to be losing its earlier firm grip on market, as its share of the market showed a downward trend during the year, as compared to Micromax that gained primarily in April-June 2014, but then continued to remain flat during the rest of the year," CMR said in a statement.
Samsung's share of the overall market in January-March 2014 quarter stood at 20.3 per cent, while that of Micromax was 11.2 per cent and Microsoft (Nokia) was 17.6 per cent. About 77 million smartphones were shipped in 2014, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the total mobile phone market in the country.
The smartphones segment grew at 46 per cent as against the previous year. Samsung lost ground in the smartphone segment too, with its market share falling from 43.2 per cent at the beginning of the year to 29.3 per cent at the end of December 2014.
Micromax, on the other hand, expanded its share marginally from 17.5 in January-March 2014 to 18.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014. "2014 proved to be a path-breaking year for the India mobile phones market, essentially in terms of high proportion of smartphones shipped.
A lot of consumer enthusiasm was seen in terms of launch of new phone models and brands, unique features and a significant change in sales strategies of vendors," CMR Lead Analyst Telecoms Research Faisal Kawoosa said.
"This resulted not only in making available a wider set of options for buyers, but also challenged industry players to remain competitive as well as creative in their offerings," he added. Last week, multiple research reports showed contrasting data on market leader in the Indian smartphone market.
While Canalys said Micromax had 22 per cent share and had overtaken Samsung (20 per cent) as number one, research firm Counterpoint stated that the Korean giant continued to be at the top with 27.4 per cent smartphone market share in the October-December 2014 quarter.