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Xiaomi and Apple Smartphones Gained Ranks in India in Q4 2016

by Juha Winter | Feb 24, 2017

The smartphone market in India took a hit (-8%) in terms of shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016 on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, something that hasn’t happened in several years in the country. The decline was even more severe when compared to previous quarter. This means that most smartphones vendors also declined in terms of their shipment volumes in India in Q4 2016. This is particularly true for Micromax and Lenovo-Motorola, but also Samsung shrunk somewhat compared to the previous quarter, while remaining roughly flat in year-on-year terms.

According to recently published research as part of Strategy Analytics’ Smartphone Model Tracker (SMT) service, Xiaomi, whose models have featured frequently on the top-10 list of best-selling smartphones in India, was one of few players able to grow their shipments both YoY and QoQ. Xiaomi had four models in the top-50 in India in Q4 2016, an increase of one compared to Q3, and those models ranked higher than ever before. Our research covers the top-200 best-selling smartphone models in India.

The other positive performance is from Apple which, although declining somewhat YoY, managed to grow very substantially in QoQ terms. Apple had altogether five models in the top-50 list, up from just two in Q3. Apple has been struggling with the affordability of its models in India, and generally speaking, it’s the older and already discounted models that have had even moderate success in the crowded market.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, the iPhone SE, despite its updated hardware which is on par with the iPhone 6s, is not doing too well in India because of its small display (a display smaller than five inches is increasingly becoming a handicap in the Indian smartphone market) and relatively high price compared to similar offerings from other vendors and even Apple’s own iPhone 6 which has a larger display. In Q4, however, its Apple’s new iPhone 7 that performed better than any other iPhone model. The iPhone 6 also continues to do well, along with the 5s. Q4 is Apple’s traditional strong quarter, following the launch of its new-generation iPhones. In India, however, the company’s challenges still remain largely unsolved, and so looking to the next quarters, Apple would do well to address the special characteristics of the Indian smartphone market, providing a more affordable smartphone with a larger display than the iPhone SE.

Interested in staying on top of the smartphone market in India with superior model-level detail? Our quarterly SMT report series includes the shipments and market share of the top-200 best-selling smartphones in India. The whole service itself covers 88 countries across 6 principal regions.

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