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  Date: 08/02/2015

How Micromax overtaken Samsung in India smart phone market

Canalys reported Micromax has overtaken Samsung to become the first domestic vendor to take the top spot in the Indian smart phone market. What is that makes micromax occupy top position in Indian smartphone market? In fact, a multiple of things.

First of all, it is not about low-cost alone. The most important thing is understanding the domestic market requirements. When Micromax started launching phones in India, one of the areas where micromax innovated is offering a phone with larger battery capacity, so that the phone can be used without charging even for a week. Frequent and long power cuts are normal in rural India, and the mobile phone has become such an important thing to rural users, when there is no power and there is no battery charge left in the phone, it gives anxious moments particularly when the user supposed to make or receive a call on some important matter. Though technologically it's a simple thing of providing bigger battery inside a phone, only Micromax offered a phone with bigger battery at an affordable price, that was a hit in the market.

The cost of phone also matters for many Indian buyers, Micromax offered quite a good mix of products at a price much cheaper than comparable products from brands such as Samsung and Nokia which were sold at higher price. Point to note is it is not about cheap phone, but a reliable/good phones at affordable prices.

Well in the smartphone space, during early launches of smart phones in India, Micromax phones could integrate 3G, Android, Wi-Fi, and fairly large screens with touch interface at a cost of 2/3 or 1/2 of leading brands such as Samsung and Nokia.

As smart phone market moved from smaller screen to larger screens, Micromax could offer big screen smart phones with performance-packed higher value than the price paid, compared to leading brands.

Not only in the smart phone market, even in the tablet market Micromax launches successful models, mainly the entry-level tablets at a price hardly anyone can resist from buying.

Now it's the turn of flat TV market for Micromax to beat brands such as Samsung and LG. Check out some of the 40 inch Micromax HD LCD TVs from online shops such as Flipkart, if you are limited by the budget, it will be very difficult for you to choose other brands in comparison to Micromax, unless your pockets are deep and looking for cutting-edge.

Well, Samsung has denied the Canalys market research reports, claiming that it is still the number one in Indian market. If Samsung claims to be believed, it can prove easily by disclosing the number of mobile phones and smart phones it has sold in India and the revenues it has earned in its financial reporting, instead Samsung is referring to findings by another market researcher, as per many reports. Samsung is known for not disclosing country wise sales and subsegment sales of its businesses such as semiconductor and memory related revenues.

When Micromax is not arguing with what Samsung is claiming, it shows Micromax is not bothered about these rankings as long as its sales in India is growing. But Micromax has a huge challenge in designing and producing its future phones locally rather than importing from China.

If Micromax is compared with Apple, Micromax hardly compete with Apple. Apple's iPhone and iPad buyers in India mostly not attracted to buy Micromax phones and tablets. But Micromax phone user tend to buy Apple' iPhone if budget permits.

Is Samsung has a way out to rise its share in India, Mostly yes, through its Tizen OS, it has to impress the Indian users with the ultimate security and app support in Tizen. Tizen need to be improved as good as Android and iOS in usage. In fact, Samsung should think of developing an operating system exclusively for Indian market by utilising its developers in its Samsung's development centre in India.

Below is the analysis shared by the Canalys on latest vendor rankings in the Indian smartphone market:

Micromax has remarkably ousted Samsung to become the first domestic vendor to take the top spot in the Indian smart phone market, the third largest in the world. This incredible performance is partly due to Micromax’s continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smart phones. Its flagship line of products has also very effectively targeted the US$150 to US$200 (INR9,000 to INR12,000) segment, with products such as the Canvas Nitro and Canvas Hue. Addressing these important segments has helped it take a 22% share of the total smart phone market in India, ahead of Samsung at 20%. Canalys’ recently published estimates show that in Q4 2014 in India, 23% of shipments were of devices priced under US$100 (INR6,000), while 41% were of devices in the US$100 to US$200 bracket (INR6,000 to INR12,000).

Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi said, ‘Canalys believes catering to local market preferences will become increasingly important. Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its Unite phones. Lava, another domestic vendor, has launched devices that cater to the preference for greater battery life – in this case a couple of days. But vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India.’

Overall, the Indian market experienced very strong annual growth of 90%, with 21.6 million units shipping in the quarter. The other major local vendors continued to jostle for third and fourth places. The top four players in Q4 2014 in India by units shipped were Micromax, Samsung, Karbonn and Lava.
Author: Srinivasa Reddy N
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