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Realme becomes second-largest phone brand in India, sets sights on Xiaomi

Realme GT Master Edition
Realme GT Master Edition (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest Counterpoint data shows Realme moving up to second position in India's handset market.
  • Realme saw a year-on-year growth of 20% in Q4 2021, and now has a 17% market share in India.
  • Most of Realme's gains were in the entry-level segment with the C and Narzo series.

From the very beginning, Realme has been a sales juggernaut. The brand's focus on value and its innate ability to undercut Xiaomi in the budget segment allowed it to quickly gain ground in India, and it used that as the starting point to build a global empire that now stretches to over 30 countries.

Realme became the fastest brand to hit the 100 million sales milestone last year, and a surge in sales in Q4 2021 allowed the brand to overtake Samsung to become the second-largest phone brand in India. The latest figures from Counterpoint show that Realme has picked up a 17% market share in India in Q4 2021, closely edging out Samsung at 16%.

Xiaomi is still in a dominant position with 24% market share, and it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon. Xiaomi overtook Samsung to become India's leading phone manufacturer over four years ago, and it hasn't relinquished that position yet. But if there's any brand that can challenge Xiaomi for the summit, it is Realme. After all, both brands intensely vie in the same category, and in recent years Realme made tangible gains on the software front.

Realme India's CEO Madhav Sheth is pretty clear about what the brand's goals are for 2022:

Our growth over the past three years is a demonstration of the love that our users have for the brand. Ever since realme came into existence, all our efforts have been put into bringing leap-forward technologies to the users and providing them with the best of experiences.We achieved some major milestones in 2021 and being the second-largest brand in Q4 2021 is the perfect way to end the year. From here, we are only looking at more growth and have our goals set for 2022. We want to be India's no. 1 smartphone brand this year, and I believe that the path we are on is the correct one.

Counterpoint notes that Realme witnessed a year-on-year sales increase of 20%, the largest of any brand in Q4 2021. Obviously, a majority of Realme's sales came from the budget segment with the likes of the new C series and Narzo launches, but the brand is starting to see momentum in the mid-range and high-end categories with the GT series. The GT Master Edition is a fantastic overall device, and it goes up against the best Android phones in its category.

Xiaomi launched the 11T Pro in India and is set to bring the Redmi Note 11 series to the region shortly, and we should be seeing what Realme has to offer in the coming weeks. The GT 2 series is already official in China, and it shouldn't be too long before it makes its way to India. Realme positioned itself as an alternative to Xiaomi in global markets as well, with the brand seeing decent momentum in the UK and other western markets.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.