Samsung Leads Sri Lanka Smartphone Market Even as Xiaomi Enters Top Three

Sri Lanka’s smartphone market grew around 11% YoY during Q1 2019.

New Delhi, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, Beijing, San Diego, Buenos Aires –

3rd June 2019

Samsung fended off the competition from Chinese brands Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo to remain at the top of the Sri Lankan smartphone market during Q1 2019, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. Although it’s market share dropped to 33% in Q1 2019 as compared to 41% in Q1 2018, Samsung retained its lead due to aggressive marketing and wide distribution.

Commenting on the findings, Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, said, “Samsung continues to be the market leader due to its innovative products, like the J series, coupled with aggressive marketing initiatives. Samsung began its journey in 2010 in Sri Lanka, and over a decade, it has grown into one of the country’s biggest consumer product company. Samsung continues to expand its customer base by entering into strategic partnerships to develop its distribution network in Sri Lanka.”

Overall, the Sri Lankan smartphone market grew 11% year-on-year (YoY) during Q1 2019. The growth was mainly due to Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi. In fact, Xiaomi became the third-largest smartphone brand in the country, with a 34% QoQ growth in shipments. However, Huawei remained the most popular Chinese brand. The top four Chinese brands, HOVX or Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi, accounted for 89% of the total sales by Chinese brands in the market. Huawei alone accounted for 45% of the volumes.

Commenting on the Sri Lankan market, Pathak said, “Sri Lanka, is a developed market in terms of technology adoption in SAARC and has seen a rising trend of smartphone sales, indicating a strong growth potential. The growth of smartphone sales is due to a shift in new technology and adaption to digitalization. As of Q1 2019, smartphones account for 56% of the total handset market in Sri Lanka.”

Exhibit 1: Sri Lanka Smartphone Market Share – Q1 2019

Sri Lanka Smartphone Market Share – Q1 2019

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor 2019

In terms of system-on-a-chip (SoC) vendors, Qualcomm is the clear leader in the smartphone segment with a 35% share. Shipments of smartphones with Qualcomm chipsets increased 16% QoQ and 99% YoY.

Commenting on the findings, Tanvi Sharma, Research Associate said, “The increase was due to the growth of Qualcomm embedded Samsung and Xiaomi smartphones. Xiaomi, OPPO, and Huawei together contributed 47% of smartphone shipments with Qualcomm chipsets, while Samsung contributed to another 36%. MediaTek suffered a huge decline in Q1 2019 as its sweet spot price band of US$50-US$75 declined significantly in this quarter.”

Exhibit 2: Sri Lanka Top Five Smartphone Model Share – Q1 2019

Source: Counterpoint Research Market Monitor 2019

Sri Lanka Market Summary:

  • Top five smartphone brands accounted for 76% of the total smartphone market during the quarter.
  • The <US$150 price band accounted for 53% of the total market. Samsung replaced Huawei to become the leader in this price band during the quarter. Samsung Galaxy J2 Core, Samsung Galaxy J6, Huawei Y5 Lite, and Huawei Y3 were among the top smartphones in this price band.
  • Huawei’s newly launched Y series Y9 (2019), Y7 Pro (2019) and Y6 Pro (2019) captured 28% of the total brand shipment. Nova 3i came out to be the top-selling model.
  • Chinese brands are well spread out in the Sri Lankan market with presence in hyper-competitive price brands.
  • LTE-capable smartphones contributed to 93% of total smartphone shipments in Q1 2019. The product portfolio of leading Chinese and global brands remains LTE-only. However, local brands (E Tel, Greentel, and Dialog) are still offering WCDMA smartphones.
  • 43% of the total smartphone market preferred handsets with a display size of 6-inch or more leaving behind 5.00-5.49 inch category.
  • Chinese brands are at the forefront when it comes to driving shipments of smartphones with 10.00-14.99 megapixel (MP) and 15.00-19.99 MP primary camera. Around 49% of the total smartphone market had a 10.00-14.99 MP primary camera.