Indian smart phone maker Micromax has overtaken South Korea's Samsung with a 22-per cent share of India's smart phone market in the October-December 2015 quarter against Samsung's 20 per cent share.
Smart phone sales in India also saw a 90-per cent jump to nearly 22 million during the October-December 2014 quarter, helped by rising sales of pocket-friendly smart phones, including Micromax and other Indian smart phone brands, Karbonn and Lava.
In the process, India, which has the world's second-highest number of mobile phones subscribers after China, also emerged as the third-biggest market for smart phones.
Micromax has benefited from the low price tag and the constant upgradation of its models in a country where many buyers are upgrading from feature phones.
According to the Canalys report, released on 3 February, nearly a quarter of smart phones sold in India in the fourth quarter of 2014 were devices priced under $100, while 41 per cent of devices sold were in the $100-$200 range.
Micromax accounted for 22 per cent of smart phone sales in India in the October-December quarter, ahead of Samsung's 20 per cent, according to the report.
According to Canalys' market analyst, the change in ranking is partly due to Micromax's continuing appeal to mobile phone users upgrading to smart phones. "Its flagship line of products has also very effectively targeted the $150 to $200 (Rs9,000 to Rs12,000) segment, with products such as the Canvas Nitro and Canvas Hue. Addressing these important segments has helped it take a 22 per cent share of the total smart phone market in India, ahead of Samsung at 20 per cent," Canalys said.
"Micromax has been quicker than its competitors to improve the appeal of devices, for example, by including a wide variety of local languages on its `Unite' phones,'' says Canalys Analyst Rushabh Doshi.
''`Lava', another domestic vendor, has launched devices that cater to the preference for greater battery life - in this case a couple of days. But vital to success is selling these handsets at low price points to appeal to the bulging mid-level income market in India," she added.
The top four players in Q4 2014 in India by unit sales were Micromax, Samsung, Karbonn and Lava, according to the report.
Samsung, however, said it continues to be a clear leader in the Indian smart phone market. Quoting GfK data, Samsung said its volume share in the October-December 2014 quarter was 34.3 per cent and the value market share was 35.8 per cent.
''In the entire year 2014, we continued to lead the market with innovative and exciting offerings. Our volume market share in the smart phone market in the year was 35.7 per cent, which is more than double than that of the next player, while our value share was 40.2 per cent, which is more than four times the next player. The GfK data is based on actual retail sales in 50,000-plus population cities,'' says Asim Warsi, vice president, marketing, mobile business, Samsung India Electronics Pvt Ltd.
Samsung's statement comes after research firm Canalys said Micromax has ousted Samsung to become the first domestic vendor to take the top spot in the Indian smart phone market, the third largest in the world.