According to Counterpoint Research's latest analysis, Indian premium smartphone segment grew 20 percent annually by volume and 28 percent by value in the calendar year (CY) 2017.
The report said that "The growth of the Indian premium segment (above Rs 30,000) is a positive development for brands like Apple, OnePlus and Google looking to expand their presence in the world's second-largest smartphone market." Adding that Apple is still the leader in the premium segment, capturing 47 percent share during Q4 2017 and 38 percent during CY 2017, driven by strong shipments of iPhone X and iPhone 7.
However, demand for iPhone 8 remains soft and, as a result, the overall Apple shipments in the premium segment declined 31 percent YoY.
"The decline is also partly due to last year's strong quarter when sales of the iPhones spiked owing to demonetization and the high volume of cash transactions," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, wrote in a blog post.
The quarter also saw strong promotions for iPhone through e-commerce channels (Amazon iPhone fest) and operators (iPhone X with Airtel), he wrote.
The report further pointed out that the OnePlus was the fastest growing brand (+ 343 percent) in the segment - capturing 25 percent during Q4 2017 and 19 percent for CY 2017 and It was the second successive quarter for OnePlus to capture the second position in the premium smartphone segment, surpassing Samsung.
The OnePlus 5T drove the sales for OnePlus, as it became the second best-selling model in the segment within two months of its launch in India, Tarun added.
Furthermore, the firm said that Samsung was behind OnePlus, capturing the third spot, as promotions for its Galaxy S8 and Note 8 remained strong. But it had tough competition from the iPhone 7 and the iPhone X.
Other notable brands which expanded their presence in the premium segment included: Google; Xiaomi; LG; and Nokia HMD.
In terms of best selling models, iPhone X was the leading model in the premium segment, capturing one-fifth of shipments, followed by the OnePlus 5T and Samsung Note 8.
Going forward, we expect the premium segment to continue to grow by more than 20 percent, both in terms of volume and value in 2018, as more brands are likely to enter the segment. These include OPPO, Vivo, and Huawei, which have some of their best selling models in China already in this segment. Additionally, the promotional activities in the premium segment are likely to increase, as e-commerce players leverage their scale and promotions to focus on premium smartphones, Pathak concludes.