Google has captured a 10% share of the premium smartphone segment in India after what analysts said was a strong initial showing with its Pixel, which took advantage of the absence of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 in the market.
Google shipped 33,000 units of Pixel to India as of October end, becoming the No 3 player for the month in the segment where the smartphone costs Rs 30,000 or more. Apple has trumped Samsung to capture the No 1 position in this segment. "A refreshing and feature-packed Pixel is making for a good proposition against Apple's iPhone and Samsung's S series," analysts at Counterpoint Research said.
Apple had a 66% share of the highend smartphone market as of last month, as shipments of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus outdid those of Samsung Galaxy S7 and other variants. Samsung had a 23% share. "Google does not want to miss out on the opportunities and is leaving no stones unturned with heavy spend on marketing. Going by spends on advertisement and offers provided by the company, Pixel is sure to maintain its market share if not extend it in the quarter," Counterpoint said.
The search giant, which started selling its first made-by-Google phone in India on October 25, was offering no-cost EMIs starting Rs 3,167 for all online and offline purchases. It was also offering cashback of Rs 7,000 for HDFC card holders who wanted to buy the phone, which has a starting price of Rs 57,000.
Google had also run an exchange programme on Flipkart, which took pre-orders from October 13 to November 25, where an extra discount of Rs 5,000 was offered. While Google didn't share the advertising expenditure, it has run a 360 degree campaign in the top seven cities, print and digital, to build the brand.
"We are very enthused by the feedback from Indian customers and the initial response for Pixel has been extremely positive and in line with our expectations," a Google India spokesperson said. "Pixel is Google's take on the total user experience as we envision it — bringing the best of Google's software, such as the Google Assistant, with hardware that really brings the experience to life," he said.
The Alphabet-owned company showcased Pixel and Pixel XL in key stores of large-format retail chains including Croma, Reliance Digital, Spice Mobility and Jumbo, a strategy adopted by the company for the first time to catch eyeballs in the retail market.
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