According to Counterpoint Research, the strong sales performance of Apple, OnePlus and Samsung immensely contributed to the growth of the Indian premium smartphone market by 20 per cent annually in volume and 28 per cent in value in the calendar year (CY) 2017.
In terms of best-selling models, iPhone X was the leading model in the premium segment, capturing one fifth of shipments, followed by the OnePlus 5T and Samsung Note 8.
And while the segment is more crowded as compared to a year ago, the top three brands, Apple, OnePlus and Samsung, still contribute to 94 per cent of the overall premium market segment.
‘Apple is still the leader in the premium segment, capturing 47 per cent share during the fourth quarter of 2017 and 38 per cent during CY 2017, driven by strong shipments of iPhone X and iPhone 7,’ said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research.
However, demand for iPhone 8 remains soft, and, as a result, the overall Apple shipments in the premium segment declined 31 per cent year-on-year. The decline is also partly due to last year’s strong quarter, when sales of the iPhones spiked, owing to demonetisation and the high volume of cash transactions.
The quarter also saw strong promotions for iPhone through e-commerce channels such as Amazon iPhone fest and operators (iPhone X with Airtel).
Pathak further added that OnePlus was the fastest growing brand (over 343 per cent) in the segment – capturing 25 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2017 and 19 per cent for CY 2017. It was the second successive quarter for OnePlus to capture the second position in the premium smartphone segment, surpassing Samsung.
The OnePlus 5T drove the sales for OnePlus, as it became the second best-selling model in the segment within two months of its launch in India.
Samsung was behind OnePlus, capturing the third spot, as promotions for its Galaxy S8 and Note 8 remained strong. But it had tough competition from the iPhone 7 and the iPhone X. Cashbacks and EMI offers were the major promotional activities leveraged by brands in the premium segment, with cashback being offered by 9 out of 10 models.
Other notable brands that expanded their presence in the premium segment include Google, Xiaomi, LG and Nokia HMD.
‘Going forward, we expect the premium segment to continue to grow by more than 20 per cent, both in terms of volume and value in 2018, as more brands are likely to enter the segment. These include OPPO, Vivo and Huawei, which have some of their best-selling models in China already in this segment,’ added Pathak.