The size of smartphone markets around the world is shrinking and India seems to be only market poised to grow. Global brands like Samsung and Xiaomi are looking to make the most out of the potential market in India, which is at this point the world’s second largest in the world.
Xiaomi and Samsung have been battling it out for market share in India with Xiaomi winning most of 2018. But the South Korean smartphone brand has plans of changing that conversation with the launch of their ‘M-series’ phones which will only be available for sale in India.
This isn’t the first smartphone brand focus on India in 2019. From wars of megapixels, to launching device on device, and specialising their phones companies have already shown increasing interest in enticing the Indian consumer who is more prudent than in many other countries.
The sale of the M-Series phones will be limited to being online, either through the official Samsung portal or via Amazon. According to Asim Warsi, the global vice president at Samsung India, the India-first phones will be priced between ₹10,000 to ₹20,000 and in exchange, the phones will have chunkier batteries but they’ll be equipped with features like quick charging.
Fight for the brands, win for the consumer
Just being ‘cheaper’ won’t be good enough because offering ‘value-for-money’ works better in the Indian market as proven by Xiaomi’s success with its budget brand Redmi and OnePlus’ domination of the premium smartphone segment.
Apple, known globally for its iPhones but yet to find its footing in India, is the exception to the rule. It’s finally going down the ‘Make-in-India’ path by announcing that it will be assembling its ‘high-end’ devices locally.
But, all the other players will be in direct competition with each other and that will inevitably drag prices down.
Xiaomi is looking to strengthen its stronghold in India by separating Redmi as a sub-brand. The logic being that POCO — another sub-brand under Xiaomi — will focus on ‘affordable flagships’ and Redmi will focus on the ‘budget’ smartphones.
In contrast, Samsung asserts that it isn’t taking the ‘one portfolio’ approach with India. Warsi told the media, “We are here to serve all consumers — from flagship premium and luxury to mid-range, affordable and popular smartphone segments. Being a full-range player, we have a full deployment and infrastructure in place in the country.”
Whichever strategy wins, the final beneficiary will be the Indian consumer who is likely to get smartphones cheaper than ever before.