Samsung, Lenovo Fight For Top Spot In Online Smartphone Sales In India

Samsung has wrested the top slot in the online sales channel, Samsungovertaking Lenovo-Motorola even as Chinese brand Xiaomi has clawed its way back to third place after a disappointing 2015.

South Korea’s Samsung increased its share of the online sales to 23.8% in the quarter ended June from 22.5% in the previous quarter and 17.8% in the quarter ended December, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

“Samsung launched specific models – Galaxy On series, and J series – in partnership with online players, and backed it with aggressive promotion,” said Counterpoint Research senior analyst Tarun Pathak.

Chinese firm Lenovo, which depends equally on Vibe and Moto series for its online sales, had a share of 20.3% in online market in the April-June end quarter with sales of over nine million smartphones. The company had a leading 24.7% share in online market sales for the quarter ended December.

A Lenovo spokesperson, however, countered the Counterpoint data and claimed that the company continues to be the leader in the Indian online smartphone market. It cited data from research agency International Data Corporation (IDC) that said Lenovo had 19.18% market share in the June quarter — lower than its market share as per Counterpoint numbers but higher than any rivals.

The growth for the online category as a whole has been muted over the last six months with the fall attributed largely to the tightening of e-commerce rules in March that led to fewer discounts, prompting several online-only brands such as Xiaomi, LeEco and Micromax’s Yu Televentures to also sell their devices offline.

ET had reported earlier this month that online market’s contribution in the smartphone sales fell from 37% in December last year to 32% as of June this year.

Still, online remains a growing and an important channel for smartphone marketers with potential to expand given the still low internet penetration in the country.

IDC said sales through the online channel is likely to pick up in the festive season with an array of expected new launches and offers.

According to Counterpoint Research, in the quarter ended June, Xiaomi increased its online share sequentially to move up a rung to No 3 with a 12.2% share, helped largely by sales of Redmi Note 3. The Chinese smartphone maker had trailed Indian rival Micromax in the previous quarter with 11.4% share.

“We have sold 1.75 million units of Redmi Note 3 since its launch five months ago. During Q2, we shipped a record-breaking 880,000 units in the online segment, almost twice the volume of the second highest-shipped smartphone in the online channel in India,” Manu Jain, head of India operations at Xiaomi, said earlier this week.

The company said the Redmi Note 3 was highest-shipped smartphone ever in India’s online market in any given quarter, citing IDC’s findings.

Micromax and Asus, in that order, stood at No 4 and No 5 positions in online sales in the June quarter but both lost share sequentially. The Indian player’s share dropped to 11.4% from 15.6% on-quarter, while Asus’ share slipped to 5.4% from 5.9%.