India powers ahead of US to become the world's second largest smartphone market

India has overtaken the US to rank as the world's second largest smartphone market after China as a result of the strong growth of brands like Samsung and Xiaomi, according to a report by Canalys.

Both Samsung and Xiaomi shipped 9.4 million and 9.2 million units respectively which accounted for almost half of the total market as the top five vendors continued to post strong growth in Q3 2017.

Samsung powered ahead of LG and Sony to become the most attractive brand in India, this is in part thanks to Samsung's roll out of Bixby voice in India. Samsung and Xiaomi are followed by Vivo, Oppo and Lenovo in the top five brands in the region.

Although not in the top five, Apple's iPhone shipments to India more than doubled to 900,000 units in Q3 2017 compared with Q3 2016, impressive growth in a market that is skewed toward low-end smartphones.

Canalys research analyst Ishan Dutt said: “This growth comes as a relief to the smartphone industry. Doubts about India’s market potential are clearly dispelled by this result. There are close to 100 mobile device brands sold in India, with more vendors arriving every quarter.

"In addition, India has one of the most complex channel landscapes, but with low barriers to entry. Growth will continue. Low smartphone penetration and the explosion of LTE are the main drivers.”

“Xiaomi’s growth is a clear example of how a successful online brand can effectively enter the offline market while maintaining low overheads,” added Canalys analyst Rushabh Doshi.

“But Xiaomi focuses on the low end. It struggles in the mid-range (devices priced between INR15,000 and INR20,000 [US$230 and US$310]), where Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are particularly strong. Nevertheless, we predict Xiaomi’s continued go-to-market innovations will allow it to overtake Samsung within a couple of quarters.”