India is home to some of the most active Android users in the world. 97% of India’s 220M smartphone users are on Android. According to App Annie, Indian users downloaded 6.2B mobile apps through Google Play in 2016—almost double the amount of apps downloaded the year before. Their hunger for devices and apps has created a marketplace in India where local and international brands compete on the same stage. A year ago, we shared data on which smartphone brands were popular in India. We noticed that both local and affordable Android brands were challenging Samsung’s marketshare in India, including China's Xiaomi. One year later, we were curious—what’s happening with Xiaomi in India?
Xiaomi rises as Samsung falls
The Chinese brand launched in India in July 2014. Since then, they have quickly captured attention with high-tech features at an affordable price point. When their Mi 3 model went on sale on Flipkart in July 2014, the high demand crashed Flipkart’s website. Within six months, Xiaomi had already sold around one million handsets in India. When we investigated Xiaomi on their first anniversary in India, we found that despite holding only 3% market share compared to Samsung’s 37%, the Chinese brand was used just as much—Xiaomi users had just as many apps on their phones as Samsung users and used just as many MB of data.
However, Xiaomi’s market share plateaued in 2015, around 2% to 3%. As 2016 went by, the brand began to grow, reaching 8% market share by the end of the year. At the same time, Samsung’s market share plummeted—decreasing by 20 percentage points between June 2014 and January 2017. Among mCent users, Samsung was the only brand whose market share decreased over the period of measured time. Despite the changes, Samsung remains the top smartphone brand in India, but the company’s days of being the brand of choice among almost 50% of users in India are long gone.
Xiaomi becomes the number three smartphone brand in India
While Samsung is stumbling in India, Xiaomi is booming. Among all of device brands used by our mCent users in India, Xiaomi grew by 8% between June 2014 and January 2017—the largest percentage of growth among all smartphone brands. As of September 2016, Xiaomi ranked as the third-largest smartphone brand in India and our January 2017 data confirms that their rank is holding steady.
Xiaomi’s rise reflects a larger trend among Chinese brands around the world. According to data from IDC, three of the top five smartphone brands of 2016 were Chinese brands, which collectively shipped 316M devices last year. Those three brands—Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo—ranked just behind Samsung and Apple. Collectively, all Chinese brands outsold Samsung last year. While Xiaomi isn’t listed among Huawei or Vivo, its success in India is indicative of a larger need for budget-friendly, high-quality devices in emerging markets.
Redmi Note 3: Xiaomi’s key to success
Xiaomi’s success was driven, in large part, by the launch of their Redmi 3. According to our mCent user data, the Redmi Note 3 is the second most-popular device in india, used by almost 3% of users.
The budget device is the company’s highest-shipped smartphone in the country. Xiaomi claims they sold 1.75M units in five months. In Q2 2016, the Redmi Note 3 broke the record for the highest number of shipments for a smartphone. On the heels of the Note 3’s success, the brand released the Redmi Note 4 in early February this year. The launch was a hit—250,000 units were sold in the first 10 minutes of the sale. In response, Xiaomi has increased their sales projections for the model to 7M devices and expects to become the country’s largest smartphone brand in the next three to five years.
Affordable and feature-rich devices capture the Indian market
Many users in India are choosing brands like Micromax and Xiaomi as they make their first smartphone purchases. As we move into 2017, we are curious to see if Samsung can turn their downward trend around, or if the Redmi Note 4 will surpass its predecessor.
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