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Bad to worse: Samsung’s hold on global phone markets continues to slip

Samsung has lost the smartphone top spot in one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world: India. New research from Canalys shows Samsung held 20% of the smartphone market in India at the close of 2014, hardly a disastrous figure, but it had been overtaken by Micromax, which took 22% of the market. Canalys estimates there were 22 million smartphones sold during the final three months of 2014, a 90-percent increase over 2013.

Why is this significant? There are several reasons, the first – and the one which may concern Samsung the most – is according to experts, India will become the world’s number one mobile growth market in 2015 in terms of value, beating China into second place. The second, is that it has been beaten by Micromax, an Indian company that concentrates on building low-cost devices with local language support.

Related: Samsung’s mobile profits plunge by 64-percent

You probably won’t have heard of Micromax, because it doesn’t sell its phones outside of India and a few other close markets, but it has enough clout to take on and beat a mobile behemoth. It’s not the first time Samsung has lost out to a lesser known brand either. In mid-2014, it was beaten to the top spot in China by Xiaomi, another smartphone brand with which you may not be familiar.

The big names are making Samsung’s life difficult too. Apple still rules in the U.S. market, and continued success with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have seen Samsung relegated to second place, and research has also shown Apple’s on a charge in South Korea, where Samsung’s own share is in decline. The situation doesn’t look much better in China, where its market share fell from 20-percent to 13-percent in less than a year.

What does Samsung have in store for us during 2015, which could see the company return to its former glory? While the Galaxy S6 will almost certainly be revealed during Mobile World Congress, it’s not going to be a major seller in India; but it needs to be exciting, desirable, and different if it’s going to make an impact elsewhere.