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Galaxy S9 launches Samsung back to the top of India's premium market

But the OnePlus 5T is the best-selling phone.

Published onApril 30, 2018

The Samsung logo.
  • Samsung retakes top spot for Q1 2018 in India’s premium market.
  • Galaxy S9, S9 Plus, and Galaxy A8 Plus sales lead to 16 percent year-on-year growth.
  • Apple drops to third, while OnePlus retains second place thanks to the sector’s best-seller, the OnePlus 5T.

Samsung has once again regained the top spot in India within the premium tier. Buoyed by the release of the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, the South Korean giant has shunted aside Apple and OnePlus in Q1 2018, capturing half of the entire segment and delivering 16 percent year-on-year growth.

When looking at India’s emergent market, most of the attention is, quite rightly, placed on the mid- to low-end price tiers and the overwhelming success of affordable devices with a high price-performance ratio.

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The landscape in the flagship arena is equally fascinating, however, even though, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest report, the premium tier accounts for just 4 percent of the overall market. In that sector, Samsung, OnePlus, and Apple, in descending order of market share, cumulatively represent 95 percent of the overall premium market share.

Apple had previously dominated Q4 2018 following the launch of the iPhone X and iPhone 8 series. The report cites weak overall demand and rising import tariffs for the drop to third place and an overall volume drop of 55 percent, although the Cupertino firm can still be happy with strong online sales, especially for older iPhone models via Amazon and Flipkart.

While Samsung is sitting pretty at the top with the S9, S9 Plus, and Galaxy A8 Plus all in demand, it’s OnePlus that has shown the most stability, once again holding onto the second spot for three straight quarters. The OnePlus 5T was also the best-selling phone across the premium segment in the first quarter of 2018, bolstered by brick-and-mortar sales and limited edition variants — most likely the Lava Red and India-exclusive Star Wars-themed models.

In addition, the report notes that the OnePlus 6 is primed to follow in its predecessor’s footsteps in the market, with new stores and wider brand awareness expected to play a huge part in OnePlus’ success in the region. HUAWEI’s P20 Pro and HMD Global’s Nokia 8 Sirocco are both expected to make an impact in Q2 2018 as well.

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