Xiaomi catches up with Samsung to become India's largest smartphone brand.

The Indian smartphone segment is booming. According to IDC, over 39 million smartphones were shipped in Q3 2017, an increase of 40% from the second quarter of 2017 and a 21% uptick from Q3 2016. As a result, India accounted for 10% of all smartphone shipments around the world.

The quarter also saw a drastic uptick in sales from e-commerce stores, with a third of all shipments attributed to online storefronts. Samsung and Xiaomi predictably led the way for sales, with both brands now tied for first place in the Indian smartphone segment.

Xiaomi and Samsung

Xiaomi had a stellar 2017, with the company fielding three of the best-selling devices in the country with the Redmi Note 4, Redmi 4, and Redmi 4A. The company saw a 3x increase in YoY shipments, and doubled its figures from Q2 2017, allowing it to net a market share of 24%, the same as Samsung.

With the e-commerce segment set to play a key role in sales in the coming quarters, it's only a matter of time before Xiaomi edges past Samsung. From IDC India's senior analyst Jaipal Singh:

eTailers have popularized many trends in the Indian smartphone market, like making devices more affordable through easy financing options, attractive exchange offers on existing smartphones. On the back of fresh infusion of funds and focus on India market, the eTailers are expected to remain aggressive in 2018 as well.

Online channel in India sees a seasonal spike peaking in Q3 on the back of multiple round of online sales following up to festival months in India. However, it is gradually becoming an integral part of the omni-channel strategy for almost all vendors with online exclusive model launches and partnerships with e-tailers during these sales.

Xiaomi shipped 9.2 million smartphones in Q3 2017, with the Redmi Note 4 alone accounting for four million shipments. After dominating the online segment, the company is now turning its attention to the offline sector by inking partnerships with leading large format stores.

As for Samsung, the South Korean brand saw a 39% QoQ growth and a 23% increase from the same period a year ago. The Galaxy J series is samsung's best-selling lineup in India, and the Galaxy J2, Galaxy J7 Nxt, and Galaxy J7 Max led the way in terms of shipments. Meanwhile, Lenovo is now at third place, with Motorola now accounting for two-third of the brand's sales.

Vivo and OPPO had a modest quarter (by their standards), with the brands occupying fourth and fifth places in the subcontinent. The offline channel as a whole didn't see the kind of growth witnessed by e-commerce sites, but it's still the "dominant channel" in India:

After an online dominated pre-and post-Diwali period, the offline channel went through a rather soft festive period. eTailers will continue to be a big driving force for smartphone growth in India, although vendors' offline focus will continue to keep retail as the dominant channel in India.

It will be interesting to see how exclusive partnerships between telcos and vendors, own smartphones brand launches by e-Tailers and availability of dual cameras, bezel less screens at more affordable price points, shape up in the coming quarters.