The smartphone market in India grew by a modest 6 per cent overall in the fourth quarter of 2017, with Xiaomi leading with shipments close to 8.2 million units, followed by Samsung at over 7.3 million smartphones, Singapore-based research firm Canalys said on Wednesday.
Samsung, however, said the South Korean giant is still India's top smartphone company by a distance.
"As per the German research firm GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the last (November) quarter, Samsung had a 45 per cent value market share and 40 per cent volume market share," a Samsung India spokesperson told IANS.
"Samsung is a full-range player and leads the smartphone business across every segment of the India market in 2017. More importantly, Samsung is India's 'Most Trusted' brand. We owe our undisputed leadership to the love and trust of millions of our consumers in the country," the spokesperson added.
According to Canalys, Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo rounded out the top five, while total smartphone shipments were just shy of 30 million units.
"Multiple factors have contributed to Xiaomi's growth, but the key reason for its current success lies in the autonomy that it granted its Indian unit, letting it run the business locally," Ishan Dutt, Canalys Research Analyst, said in a statement.
Together, the top two vendors now command more than 50 per cent of the smartphone market in India.
Xiaomi's success in India will have far-reaching implications for its worldwide strategy, giving a big boost to its overseas ambitions.
"But growth in 2018 will be hard to come by," added Rushabh Doshi, another Canalys Research Analyst.
"As Xiaomi's market share reaches saturation point in India, and the market continues to shrink in China, it must contend with slower growth for its smartphone business as it begins to expand in other countries," he added.
After registering 27 per cent growth in mobile business revenue for the financial year 2016-17 --- touching a mammoth 34,300 crore -- Samsung in December became the leader in the highly competitive and price-sensitive Indian market.
"German research firm GfK reports final consumption which is the most important measure of market share. Shipments are important but they don't tell the final market share.
"The real share is what I sold out to my customers and here, we are pretty strong," Samsung India's Global Vice President, Asim Warsi had told IANS in a recent interview.
"Our supply chain is very efficient and lean till the retailers' end. We don't do big imports, ship and create massive inventories. We pulse the supply chain system based on the changing demand and the seasons in India," he added.