New Delhi– Making a strong comeback, Samsung shipped 9.9 million smartphones in India in the second quarter of 2018, registering almost 50 per cent annual growth rate — its best since the fourth quarter of 2015, Singapore-based market research firm Canalys said on Thursday.

Chinese handset maker Xiaomi also shipped 9.9 million smartphones and this is the best quarter either vendor has had in the country, said the report.

Together, the two companies now account for 60 per cent of total shipments in India — up from 43 per cent a year ago.

“Samsung is hitting back. It has launched devices pitted directly against Xiaomi’s portfolio and is focusing on its cameras and imaging capabilities with ‘Portrait Dolly’ and ‘Background Blur Shape’ functions,” said TuanAnh Nguyen, Analyst at Canalys.

Samsung “J2 Pro” was the top model in the second quarter, with 2.3 million units shipped in India.

In comparison, Xiaomi shipped 3.3 million of its “Redmi 5A” device.

“Despite Xiaomi’s growing popularity in India, Samsung will remain the first choice for consumers. Its technological prowess and supply chain mastery will continue to give it an edge over Xiaomi for the foreseeable future,” the report noted.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi more than doubled its shipments, albeit from a modest base.

Another Chinese player Vivo took the third place while OPPO came fourth, with shipments of 3.6 million and 3.1 million, respectively.

In line with these performances, overall shipments in India grew by 22 per cent, to just under 33 million units.

“Volume is not the only strategy in India. Samsung and Xiaomi often distract from the opportunities that India has to offer smaller and leaner smartphone vendors looking for additional business opportunities. The climate is right for businesses to realign and re-enter the market,” said Rushabh Doshi, Research Manager at Canalys.

In the first quarter of 2018, Xiaomi shipped over nine million units, giving it a market share of just over 31 percent.

Samsung, with a 26.2 per cent share, shipped just under 7.5 million smartphones.

In the second quarter, Apple’s iPhone shipments to India fell by about 50 per cent but its paring back of distributor partners and move to a “brand-first, volume-next” strategy would reap rewards as it will ensure better margin per device, said the report. (IANS)