As anti-China sentiments grow in India after the ban on 59 apps and a public boycott of Chinese-made goods, Samsung Electronics is expected to increase its presence in the Indian smartphone market, industry analysts have said. The fluid market situation offers new opportunities for various smartphone makers, especially the non-Chinese ones, to realign their strategies and regain the lost market share in the face of fierce Chinese competition.
"Shipments of consumer goods that are against public sentiment will face difficulties. As Chinese smartphone makers are expected to suffer sales decline in India, Samsung is expected to take advantage of it," Yonhap news agency quoted Lee Chang-min, an analyst at KB Securities, as saying. According to market tracker Counterpoint Research, four of the top five smartphone brands in the Indian smartphone market were from China in the first quarter of the year, with Samsung being the only non-Chinese company.
Xiaomi led the way with 30 per cent, followed by its Chinese compatriot Vivo with 17 per cent. Realme and Oppo were ranked fourth and fifth in the Indian smartphone market with a share of 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively. Samsung came in third on the list with a 16 per cent market share, Counterpoint Research data showed. Analysts said the upbeat performance in India could push up Samsung's overall mobile business.
"For Samsung, India is a market that the company cannot give up," said Roh Kyoung-tak, an analyst at Eugene Investment & Securities. "Samsung's long-term business strategy must have a plan for the Indian market". In the first quarter (January-March) this year, Samsung's shipments were driven by its upgraded A and M series (A51, A20s, A30s, and M30s).
According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung managed to hold the third position in Q1 2020 due to launches across several price tiers, especially in the affordable premium segment (S10 Lite, Note 10 Lite). Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, said that consumer sentiments are running high and a section of users will look for alternatives, benefitting global and Indian brands.
The industry watchers said the second-quarter performance of Samsung's mobile business unit may not be worse than expected due to the economic reopening of major markets from end-May, though an earnings decline appears inevitable. Samsung will release the Galaxy Note 20 series and the Galaxy Fold 2 foldable smartphone next month to drive its handset sales in the second half of the year.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CyberMedia Research (CMR), for players like Samsung to succeed, they would need to build meaningful value propositions for consumers, both in terms of specs and pricing. "Affordability will continue to be a major theme this year and brands will need to dovetail their offerings accordingly," Ram added.