The Indian smartphone market continues to be action-packed as ever, with the battle between Samsung and Xiaomi continuing unabated, and other brands upping their game. Even new phonemakers like Realme were able to take the market by storm this year. So while the top 10 most popular phones of 2018 were pretty much expected, let’s see if the list of top 10 brands manages to throw any surprises or not.
The Taiwanese brand was on a roll this year. Not only did it launch devices at strategic price points, it also challenged the specs-vs-price equation with the likes of the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro M1, which shipped with the SD636 chipset and a 5,000mAh battery. The ZenFone 5Z on the other hand, went on to undercut the OnePlus 6. The vendor continued its launch spree with the release of power-packed ZenFone Max Pro M2 and Max M2 towards the end of the year.
Even though there are many new brands that have been able to make a mark in the affordable category, OnePlus has been able to break the seemingly-impossible duopoly of Apple and Samsung in the Rs 30k+ segment. Continuing on its value proposition along with launching limited-edition smartphones, the Shenzhen-based manufacturer has caught the fancy of a lot of consumers.
In terms of launches, the Lenovo-owned brand has been a bit of a mixed bag this year. But thanks to the success of budget-friendly handsets introduced last year – the G5s Plus and E4 Plus – the company has been able to find a footing on the popularity charts. While the G6 series also received some adulation, the One Power came across as a surprise package with its Android One support and a capacious 5,000mAh battery.
The Finnish brand has stuck to its promise of durable build quality, reliable performance and user-friendly features. And perhaps that’s why it has found many takers. The HMD Global-owned has also ensured timely software updates by using the Android One programme and offering smartphones across price segments. The Nokia 6 series remained the most popular from the brand, while the mid-ranger 7 Plus also managed to draw prospective buyer’s attention.
Who’d have thought that a new brand would become the most loved smartphone brand of the year 2018? But Realme proved that it’s possible on the back of powerful, value-for-money launches right from the debut offering, the Realme 1 and all the way to its new photography-focused Realme U1. However, the most successful offering from the brand was the Realme 2 Pro, which also ranked third in the list of most popular phones of 2018.
The sub-brand of Huawei continued its momentum from 2017 by bringing much-vaunted features such as notch displays and glass-back designs in the budget segment. Perhaps that explains the popularity of the likes of Honor 9 Lite and 9N. The brand also brought powerful specs in the sub-Rs 20k price bracket with the likes of the Honor Play and 8X.
While many would credit its advertising blitzkrieg for the success of Vivo, the brand changed its tack in 2018. Not only did it up the innovation quotient with features such as in-display fingerprint scanners, pop-up selfie cameras and more, but also continued to launch offerings in its popular V series of mid-tier offerings. That’s why its most popular offerings were the Vivo V9 and V11 Pro.
Just like Vivo, the same argument could be made for OPPO. However, the brand did readjust its India strategy. Along with launching a new sub-brand in the form of Realme (which spun off as an independent entity later), it aimed to become a full-spectrum player with the launch of the Find X flagship, R17 siblings in the upper mid-tier alongside the popular F and A series.
While the South Korean giant’s dominance has been challenged by Xiaomi, Samsung has rejigged its strategy to launch power-packed offerings in the J series, introduced innovative features with the A range (triple- and quad-camera setups) and continued its supremacy with the flagships in the Galaxy S and Note series. This showed in the most popular list as well, as both the Galaxy J6 and J8 were among the top 10 handsets.
The fact that Xiaomi has been India’s numero uno smartphone brand since past seven quarters goes on to show how strongly the brand has established itself. The manufacturer kickstarted the year on a high note with the Redmi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro, expanded its Redmi range, introduced a new sub-brand POCO and then ended the year with the Redmi Note 6 Pro.
Then and now
Of course, while the list might not be surprising if you’ve been following the Indian smartphone market closely, it’d be interesting to see how the top 10 brands have changed from the last year to 2018. While the table toppers might have been able to maintain their position, phonemakers like Lenovo and LYF are nowhere to be seen this time. Interestingly, Nokia actually fell in popularity levels, while both OPPO and Honor have jumped quite a few spots.
Let us know if you agree with this popularity chart in the comment box below. Also, tell us where else you want us to dig deeper to present interesting trends.