Nokia slips, Chinese G’Five pips Samsung to No. 2 slot

Monday, 3 January 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Mumbai: The churn in the Indian mobile handset industry continues unabated and if the latest industry figures are anything to go by, Finnish handset maker Nokia and Korean conglomerate Samsung have reasons to be worried.

Nokia’s grip over the Indian market loosened further as its market share slid by another 5% in the July to September quarter, according to data by IDC, a market research agency, made available exclusively to TOI. It, however, remains the largest mobile handset brand with a 31.5% share in the Indian mobile phone market.

The big surprise, however, came in the form of Samsung, which vacated its number two slot in the market to little known Chinese brand — G’Five. While G’Five now has a 10.6% share, the Korean handset manufacturer on the other hand ended the September quarter with an 8.2% share.  In the quarter ended June, IDC had reported Nokia’s market share at 36.3%, which the mobile handset maker had disputed. Nokia had then said that it did not agree with the methodology used by IDC to determine market share.

When contacted by TOI, Nokia said it is globally in its silent period prior to the 2010 results slated to be announced in January and would find it inappropriate to comment on market share estimates by external agencies.

The Finnish handset manufacturer, till a couple of years ago, dominated the Indian mobile handset market like a colossus with more than a 70% share. But off late, it has been hit at the bottom end by a swarm of new players such as Micromax, Spice and Lava. At the top end, its market has been encroached upon by the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Blackberry.

These new players have been able to offer value-formoney products in the low and mid-market segments, backed by innovative models. Be it looks, styling, high-end applications — these brands have given consumers the option to go for feature-rich phones at very low price points targeting the semi-urban and rural population and that has taken away market shares from the well-entrenched players.

For instance, the new entrants understood the Indian consumers’ need for more battery life as well as the fact that lot of them needed to use two SIM cards.  Accordingly, they launched phones to meet such demands through inhouse R&D. Samsung, however, sought to play down the latest IDC figures and said its market share has actually gone up according to IDC’s rival research firm GfK-Nielsen’s data. “As per GfK-Nielsen’s data, we had 19.3% market share for the month of October. “We strengthened our dual-SIM portfolio considerably and maintained our leadership in the touch screen segment with a 36% market share,” a Samsung spokesman said in an email response when quizzed about the reasons for vacating its number two spot. While GfKNielsen reports monthly numbers IDC comes out with quarterly numbers.