Analytics company Canalys recently reported that Samsung had lost its position as the top smartphone vendor in India. Based on Canalys’ Q4 2017 figures, Xiaomi took the lead with 8.2 million units shipped while Samsung shipped just over 7.3 million to come in second.
In what might not be a completely surprising move, Samsung has contested the claim.
A Samsung spokesperson told TechRadar that the company was still ahead in India, and that it was ahead by some margin.
Samsung is India’s number 1 smartphone company by a distance. As per GfK, which tracks sales to end consumers, in the last (November) quarter Samsung had a 45% value market share and 40% volume market share.
The thing is, this statement doesn’t refute the Canalys claim. Like the spokesperson says, research company GfK tracks sales to “end consumers,” while Canalys tracks shipments. Now, end-user purchases might be the superior method for tracking smartphone vendor performance—I mean, who cares which company put most units out into the world if they actually sold less than someone else, right? Nonetheless, as long a Canalys is using shipments to determine its hierarchy, claims that Xiaomi is ahead may still be true.
Of course, if that suggested 40% volume market of Samsung’s is accurate, then it would be absurd if Xiaomi was indeed ahead, given the number of big smartphone players in India (it would leave a less-than 20% share for the remaining manufacturers). But what I’m trying to say is: the Canalys report might not be accurate, but Samsung hasn’t supplied anything to suggest GfK’s is.
What’s more, the Canalys findings are echoed by analytics company Counterpoint Research, which also crowned Xiaomi as the leader in India for Q4 2017, while I can’t find anything from GfK on the matter. This is its Q4 2017 smartphone report, but it doesn’t talk specifics about OEMs.
Meanwhile, Counterpoint Research also suggests Samsung has lost the top spot in feature phone shipments to Reliance Jio.
This isn’t the first time Samsung has disputed a Canalys report either. In 2015, the research firm reported that Micromax had become India’s top smartphone vendor. Samsung later highlighted GfK’s findings, which suggested it had a 34.3% volume market share.
The major research firms often reach different conclusions on device shipments because they use different tracking methods—and covering millions of unit sales from the outside of the company’s they’re reporting on can’t be easy. No matter what the claim is, you have to take it with a grain of salt. In this scenario, however, unless Samsung can provide a stronger argument, we’d lean towards the other reports.