It has been a rapid slide for Indian smartphone manufacturers as Chinese companies strengthen their grip on buyers. Led by Micromax, homegrown brands have taken a beating as Chinese phone makers such as Vivo and Lenovo strengthen their hold, driven by new devices and aggressive marketing strategies.
None of the Indian brands figure in the top-five smartphone ranking released for Q4 of 2016, a far cry from the Q1 where three brands in top five were Indian. The pressure from the Chinese brands is so intense that even Samsung, which still leads the market, has seen its share down at 24% in Q4 of 2016 against 29% in first quarter.
While Chinese brands have been investing aggressively over the last few years, their large-scale acceptance among buyers surprises many . The general perception was Chinese brands were poor in quality and lacked bandwidth to service their phones. But this has been changing as Chinese companies make inroads into offline retail stores, while becoming highly-visible via heavy investments in big-ticket sporting and entertainment events.
Vivo came up strongly to finish the fourth quarter with a share of 10%, second behind Samsung. It was followed by Xiaomi, Lenovo and Oppo.