Chinese handset maker Xiaomi overtook Samsung to become the top player in the Indian smartphone market in the December quarter, ending the Korean company's 6-year dominance, reports by Canalys and Counterpoint Research said.
Samsung asserted however that it is "India's Number 1 smartphone company by a distance". According to Counterpoint's report, Xiaomi has grown its market share to 25% in the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 9% in the year-ago period.
Samsung, on the other hand, saw its market share falling to 23% in the latest October-December quarter, from 24% a year ago. The top 5 tally also included Lenovo, Vivo and Oppo.
For the entire 2017, Samsung managed to hold on to the top position with 24% share, followed by Xiaomi with 19% share, Counterpoint data stated.
During the second half, players such as Xiaomi were particularly disruptive with aggressively-priced, broad portfolio taken to market with an effective channel expansion strategy, Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak said.
"This helped Xiaomi surpass the long-time market leader, Samsung, for the first time ever. This performance ended Samsung's six-year market dominance," he added.
Pathak also noted that Xiaomi ended 2017 in India on a very strong note. "Not only did the brand grow 259 per cent year-on-year, but it also saw three of its models within the top five bestselling smartphone list of 2017," he added.
Samsung had the most number of models in the top 10 selling list, leveraging its advantage of a strong presence across all the price bands, Pathak said.
Canalys, in its report, said Xiaomi led the smartphone tally in the fourth quarter with shipments close to 8.2 million units (27% market share), compared to Samsung's more that 7.3 million smartphones (25 per cent share) shipments.
Canalys attributed Xiaomi's success to the player's localisation in channel strategy, marketing and products in the Indian market.
"I believe our constant innovation across products, operating model and commitment to India has helped us win over our Mi fans. India is a key market for us and we will continue to launch new products and product categories for Indian Mi fans," Xiaomi India MD Manu Jain said.
A Samsung India spokesperson cited data from research firm GfK -- which tracks sales to end consumers -- to say Samsung had a 45% value market share and 40% volume market share in November 2017.
"Samsung is a full range player and lead the smartphone business across every segment of the Indian market in 2017," the spokesperson said.
Canalys said the total smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter were under 30 million units, while Counterpoint said the number was about 32 million.