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Samsung may surpass Xiaomi to become India’s largest smartphone manufacturer.

The smartphone market leadership may see a shake-up in the coming year with market trackers predicting Samsung will overtake Xiaomi to become India‘s largest smartphone brand by volumes, backed by the Korean major’s increased online sales and financing schemes amid continuing regulatory woes of its Chinese rival.

Market analysts also predict that shipments in 2023 will also get dragged by the macroeconomic issues, which will continue to persist at least in the first half of next year, leading to a second successive year of contraction, or at best low single-digit growth. The smartphone market in 2022 is likely to see smartphone shipments fall on year for the first time ever, bar the first Covid-hit year of 2020. The proliferation of 5G networks will also see users going for higher priced devices, which will further push up the average selling prices of smartphones, crossing the $250 mark, growing at 4%, added analysts. “Samsung might capture 23-24% market share by Q2 of 2023, overtaking Xiaomi, which will continue to own 19-20% share,” said Faisal Kawoosa, chief analyst at Techarc.

“They are also offering a good spread of devices, catering to different segments. Now that markets are not as polarised in terms of opportunity, with both the budget and premium segments offering good business, Samsung has a good chance in beating Xiaomi to the top.”

With the market moving up the price ladder as the average selling prices climb up touching nearly ₹20,000, China’s Xiaomi will find resistance among consumers, say experts. The company has primarily earned its bread from the mass volume entry-level segment, which is currently struggling to generate as much volume and revenue as before. That, combined with the intense scrutiny the company is under from government authorities, may see Xiaomi struggle to increase market share.

“Xiaomi’s acceptability beyond ₹20,000 is much less. Plus, the issues Xiaomi is going through will play out in the minds of retailers stocking the company’s devices, if not the end users,” Kawoosa said.

Samsung is already the market leader in terms of revenue share, according to Counterpoint Research. The company grew in double digits, beating the overall market growth in revenues, during the third quarter ended September 2022. The research firm noted that the Korean company was the only one growing among the top five during the crucial festive season.

IDC India predicts that in 2023, overall shipments are likely to go back to levels seen in 2019, clocking around 140 million units compared with an expected 150 million units in 2022. However, 2023 shipment estimates may increase with the Rajasthan government placing a massive order of 13 million smartphones for women heads of low-income families, which ET reported on November 30.

Counterpoint Research predicted that the market is likely to grow at 10% on-year with the Rajasthan government tender included. But it added that the open market will see a tepid growth of 4% with the macroeconomic conditions expected to ease by the second half of 2023. The market tracker expects shipments of around 163 million units in 2022.

“We believe the macroeconomic conditions will start easing by the second half of year, which will act as a fillip to sales in the sub-₹10,000 segment. People who have held back on purchasing smartphones this year will also go for an upgrade in 2023, which is another factor,” said Prachir Singh, senior analyst, Counterpoint Research.



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