Xiaomi has shown no signs of slowing down in India. The Chinese smartphone vendor registered an impressive 155% annual shipment growth, taking the lead in a smartphone market that is growing yet rapidly consolidating.
According to market research firn Canalys, Xiaomi shipped over 9 million units, giving it a market share of just over 31%, the highest ever for a vendor since Q1 2014, when Samsung had a share of 33%. Xiaomi also continued to widen the gap between itself and Samsung. The Korean vendor shipped just under 7.5 million smartphones, growing by 24% on last year. Oppo took third place with 2.8 million shipments, and Vivo fourth with 2.1 million shipments. Overall, the smartphone market in India grew at 8% to 29.5 million units for the quarter.
"Xiaomi is becoming a force to be reckoned with in India," said Canalys Research Analyst Ishan Dutt. "Apart from being some of the best value devices on the market, Xiaomi's smartphones are now available in more places and in larger quantities. All in all, Xiaomi's product and channel strategies are working." Xiaomi's recently launched Redmi 5, Redmi 5 Plus and Redmi 5A have seen runaway success, with the Redmi 5A reaching record sales of 3.5 million in the quarter. In comparison, Samsung's best-selling device, the J7 Nxt, shipped just 1.5 million units."
The market also continues to consolidate, with smaller vendors finding it extremely difficult to succeed in the face of Xiaomi's growing prominence. The top four vendors accounted for about 75% of all smartphone shipments to India, with Xiaomi and Samsung accounting for 56%.
"India remains a huge investment for any smartphone brand," said Canalys Research Manager Rushabh Doshi. "For smaller vendors, such as Gionee and Lenovo, the pressure on profitability has forced them to relook at their Indian strategies." Lenovo's smartphone shipments were just short of a million units, falling by more than 60% year on year, while Gionee shipped an all-time low of 150,000 units with shipments down 90% year on year. "Local production, offline channel expansion, and huge advertising and marketing costs are weighing down the smartphone vendors. And India's inability to move quickly to a high-value market has only hurt them further."