Samsung Galaxy S9 dominates India’s premium segment, Apple and Google decline in Q1

Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus dominated the premium segment in India’s smartphone market for Q1, 2018, according to two separate reports. Samsung and OnePlus were the winners of the premium segment in India, according to reports by research firms CyberMedia Research (CMR) and Counterpoint. Based on the two reports, Apple suffered a decline in the first quarter of 2018.

According to CMR, Galaxy S9 shipments were 180% higher than Google Pixel 2 and Apple iPhone 8, 8 Plus and iPhone X for first quarter of 2018 in the Indian market. In CMR’s research, premium segment includes smartphones above the price of Rs 50,000. While Apple had reigned supreme in Q4 2017 with the launch of iPhone X and iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, in Q1 2018 shipments of its premium flagships declined by 74%, according to the research firm.

Apple saw its share decline from 82 per cent to 25 per cent, while Google went from 11 per cent to 2 per cent at the end of the first quarter of 2018, notes CMR. Samsung was the winner in this segment, according to the research firm. “Following its launch at MWC 2018, Samsung’s new super premium flagship launches did better than the competition. Samsung make an impressive run with its new flagships, on the back of its partnerships with telcos and e-commerce players, including attractive cash back offers and exchange benefits. Samsung’s 2018 super premium flagships beat the initial run of Samsung S8 and S8 Plus last year with 8% increase in its shipments,” said Prabhu Ram, Head – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR in the report.

Counterpoint also released its data on the Indian premium smartphone segment, and according to this, the segment declined 13% sequentially due to drop in promotions after the fourth quarter of 2017. However, Counterpoint data also showed that Samsung regained the top spot in this segment, thanks to strong demand for its the Galaxy S9 series which was introduced in March 2018.

According to Counterpoint, OnePlus was number two in the segment with OnePlus 5T remaining as the best-selling model. Meanwhile, Apple had a weak Q1 2018 with demand for iPhone 8 and iPhone X decline in the quarter, according to the research firm. It should be noted that the premium segment constitutes only around 4% of the overall smartphone market in India, and is still in the nascent stages.

The segment is dominated by three brand: Samsung, OnePlus and Apple which contributed to 95 per cent of the overall premium, account to Counterpoint. Data from the research firm shows that Samsung captured half of the premium segment with 16 per cent year-on-year growth. The research firm credits this to the strong demand of Galaxy S9, S9 Plus+ and the online exclusive Galaxy A8+. According to Counterpoint, Samsung’s cashback offers and data plans with telecom players like Airtel and Jio also helped boost growth of the S9 phones.

The report also says OnePlus was the fastest growing brand in the segment capturing 25 per cent of the share. According to Counterpoint, the launch of OnePlus 6 will continue the momentum for the brand, which will likely expand its presence across multiple cities by opening new stores. Counterpoint data showed that Apple’s share in the premium segment dipped as the volumes dropped by a massive 55%. While Apple iPhone prices have increased thanks to higher import duties, the company’s online channel presence is growing. Currently, almost one in four premium iPhones are sold in the online channel, shows Counterpoint data.