Samsung is all set to take on Xiaomi in its ‘biggest market’

The war between Samsung and Xiaomi will spill over to India’s e-commerce space this year as the South Korean giant seeks to wrest leadership in online sales, where almost half of the smartphones purchased in the country are from the Chinese company.

Samsung India has decided to launch a new series of smartphones this year exclusively for online, which will be high on hardware specifications and aggressively priced to target Xiaomi bestsellers, three senior industry executives said. This series will focus on the ₹5,000-15,000 price bracket appealing to the youth.

Both Samsung and Xiaomi enjoyed leadership in India’s smartphone market with a 23.5% share each during the July-September quarter, according to International Data Corporation, a US market research firm. The top three smartphones sold during the quarter were from Xiaomi.

At present, Samsung India sells its On series of smartphones only online in India and it launched Galaxy A8+ exclusively on Amazon last week. The model is priced at ₹32,990, directly competing against Xiaomi’s Mi Mix2 in terms of specifications and pricing.

Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research said Xiaomi’s rise in India is due to the absence of competition in the online space. The brand has almost 50% share of online smartphone sales in India, Xiaomi India MD Manu Kumar Jain told ET last month. Samsung wants to specifically target this as part of its strategy this year, an executive said.

“Samsung wants to extend its lead with Xiaomi which is possible by expanding e-commerce sales while consolidating its presence in offline channels. It will ensure that the 1.5 lakh brick-and-mortar stores selling its handsets are not neglected since Samsung knows it will take time for Xiaomi to build such a vast offline network,” a senior industry executive said.

Samsung has reduced the number of trade partners responsible for fulfilling online orders in each region to 2-3 now from 10-12 earlier to better manage sales. “The layers of distribution for online sales are also being cut to ensure margins are better controlled, which can be passed for aggressive pricing,” another executive said.

An email sent to Samsung India did not elicit any response.

Filed in: News

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