India has overtaken the United States to become the second-largest smartphone market in the world, trailing China, according to independent tech analyst Canalys.
Recovering from a slump in the previous financial quarter, India grew its mobile phone shipments by 23% from the previous year. It received just over 40 million smartphone shipments in Q3 2017, with mobile brands Xiaomi and Samsung accounting for nearly half of the total market.
Xiaomi shipped 9.2 million units, closely trailing Samsung's 9.4 million in India, a market skewed towards low-end smartphones.
According to Canalys, one of the main reasons for this boost were the low barriers to entry India affords mobile phone manufacturers — there is strong competition among Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, and Lenovo, the top five vendors in the country, who now make up 75% of its total smartphone shipments.
Other key factors driving the rise are Indian consumers' increasing emphasis on LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and the country's low smartphone penetration.
While Samsung reported a growth of nearly 30% from the corresponding period last year, Xiaomi made giant strides to strike a 290% increase in its sales. Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi submits that Xiaomi's focus on low-end phones has enabled it to “effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads”.
Mr. Doshi is quoted as saying, “The Indian economy is proving very strong in the second half of 2017, now that the twin shocks of GST and demonetisation are behind it.”