KOLKATA (TIP): 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 GfKNielsen’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 GfKNielsen 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 topselling models at multi-brand retail outlets. Its newest premium smartphone, Galaxy S4, will be launched in India on Friday. 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.