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Samsung outpaces Apple to emerge as leader in India’s premium smartphone segment

Samsung outpaces Apple to emerge as leader in India’s premium smartphone segment

KOLKATA: Buoyed by the successful introduced of Galaxy S7 as well as price cuts of its earlier popular models, Samsung has overtaken Apple to arise as the clear market leader in India’s premium smartphone segment in the January-March quarter.

The 2 companies were neck-toneck in the preceding October-December quarter with market research agencies differing on who was ahead. But the Korean cell phone maker appears to have pulled ahead of its Cupertino-based competitor in the previous 3 months in the high-value Rs 30,000-plus smartphone segment, according to both GfK and Counterpoint Research, the 2 biggest outfits tracking handset sales in the country.

Hong Kong-based shipment tracker Counterpoint Research’s figures show that Samsung’s volume share in Jan-Mar rose to 62% from 35% in the preceding quarter. Apple’s share, in contrast, fell to 37 percent from 55 percent.

GfK, which tracks end-consumer sales in 50,000-plus population markets, had narrowly placed Samsung at the top in the Oct-Dec quarter last year. However, its lead has widened substantially and as per GfK assessment, the Korean company’s market share in the January-March quarter is 50% as opposed to Apple’s 41%.

Apple’s drop in volume market share has happened despite a 56% increase in iPhone sales revenue in India. The iPhone maker, which reported its 1st drop in quarterly sales in 13 years on Wednesday, has pinned its hopes on India.

The company’s chief executive Mr. Tim Cook said the Indian market was at the same stage of development as China’s about 7-10 previous year.

The success of Samsung’s latest blockbuster model Galaxy S7 launched last month and price drop on older popular models such as Galaxy S6 and Note 5 has turned the market in its favour, analysts said.

“The impact of Galaxy S7 sales was for half month in Mar and the full impact will be in the current quarter whereby we expect Samsung may further expand its lead in the premium segment considering iPhone SE has been lukewarm demand till now,” said Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Tarun Pathak.

Industry executives said Apple is also losing ground in India due to the huge online discounting on i Phones which had led the brick-and-mortar stores to cut down stock.

This led Apple to recently ask its distributors in India to bring about offline and online pricing parity and stop arbitrary discounting on iPhones. Emails mailed to Samsung and Apple did not elicit any response till Thursday press time.

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