KOLKATA: Samsung has overtaken Nokia to become the largest seller of mobile phones in the country’s major markets, as consumers lap up its new feature phones and its smartphones continue to do brisk business.
According to market tracker GfK-Nielsen’s data, Samsung’s volume market share in urban areas in March rose to 31.4%, surpassing Nokia’s 30.1%. GfK-Nielsen urban panel tracks sales in 793 cities and towns with a population of over 50,000, which account for more than 70% of India’s total handset sales.
This is the first time the Korean company’s volume market share has crossed that of Nokia’s in the GfK-Nielsen survey. The all-India figures, which will include rural sales, will be released shortly.
Some months ago, Samsung’s market share, measured in value terms, had exceeded that of Nokia’s, and there is now a considerable gap between the two due to growing demand for the Korean firm’s smartphones.
NEW MODELS PUSH SALES
Last month, Samsung’s value market share in urban markets stood at 42.2% compared with Nokia’s 20.7%. Analysts say Samsung’s gain in volume market share last month is led by the recent introduction of the Rex feature phone series and strong demand for smartphones such as Galaxy Grand and Note 2, the top-selling models at multi-brand retail outlets. Its newest premium smartphone, Galaxy S4, will be launched in India on Friday.
Samsung overthrows Nokia to become the largest seller of mobile phones in India
A Nokia India spokesperson said the company did not comment on country-specific market data, and added that it was executing its strategy with ‘urgency and at a new clock speed’. The spokesperson said at the higher end of the price spectrum, the company had launched ten Nokia Lumia devices in the past 16 months and claimed that Asha 305 was the best-selling smartphone in India.
“We are competing at every price point with better mobile experience. Nokia will continue to deliver new and innovative solutions to consumers,” she said.
Notwithstanding these initiatives, analysts and experts feel that Nokia’s more than a decade-long leadership in the Indian handset market is under threat. The company, which once enjoyed a dominant 80% market share, has never completely recovered from its failure to anticipate and react to the dual-SIM handset boom a few years ago.
“It’s truly unbelievable the way Nokia fell in India in the past six years. The brand failed to rejuvenate itself and fell prey to customer fatigue. Add to that the speed of execution – while Samsung was taking six months to launch a new model from the drawing board to retail store, Nokia was taking more than a year,” said former BlackBerry India head Sunil Dutt, who was Nokia’s head of sales till 2007. A Samsung India spokeswoman declined comment on the market share data. But Samsung India’s Country Head (mobile phone & digital imaging) Vineet Taneja said the company has gained market share.
“Samsung has created new segments, such as the Note series or the Rex series, which was developed in India. We have developed a strong product portfolio straddling across entry-level smartphones till the premium segment,” said Taneja. The Korean company has been the leader in the smartphones segment since end-2011, even as it trailed Nokia in the overall handset market.