Samsung Bangladesh has grabbed the top spot in the Bangladeshi smartphone market, with 16.1 percent of the market share and a sales volume of more than 1.12 million handsets in 2019.
The brand has also topped in earnings from smartphone sales for the past three years. This time, it has earned the top position in terms of both earnings and sales.
According to a recent report by the International Data Corporation (IDC), Samsung surpassed Symphony to become the market leader.
However, Symphony, Transsion, Walton, and Xiaomi respectively settled in the second, third, fourth, and fifth positions.
Mohammad Mesbah Uddin, chief marketing officer of Fair Distributor – the manufacturer and importer of Samsung smartphones in Bangladesh – said that in terms of market value, they have been the top brand for the last three consecutive years.
"Our market value is around 34 percent. But last year, we outnumbered Symphony in terms of sales volume," said Mohammad Mesbah Uddin.
Symphony slipped to the second slot as its shipments into the country declined to 29.5 percent.
China-based new vendors, along with the expansion of Samsung, have become its main competitors in the business.
The mobile phone market in Bangladesh expanded in 2019 with a 4.1 percent annual growth and shipped 29.6 million units during last year, according to the IDC report.
In the smartphone category, a total of 6.9 million smartphones were shipped in 2019, with a 1.4 percent year-over-year growth.
Meanwhile, the country also saw a shift in local manufacturing of smartphones. Three out of four smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2019 were locally assembled, compared to just one-fourth smartphones assembled in the first quarter.
This happened as the government raised the customs duty on importing smartphones to 25 percent from 10 percent, resulting in a 4.1 percent decline in the second quarter of 2019 compared to that in 2018.
As per the latest data of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), in 2019, the number of locally assembled smartphones increased to 20 lakh from 7 lakh in the previous year.
The total number of manufactured phones in the country was 70 lakh in 2019 and 34 lakh in 2018, according to BTRC data.
In 2018, the government allowed nine companies to assemble mobile phones locally.
The companies are Fair Electronics, Walton Digi-Tech Industries, EDISON Industries, Carlcare Technology BD, Alamin and Brothers, Anira International, OK Mobile, Transsion Bangladesh, and Best Tycoon (BD) Enterprise.
Chinese brands OPPO and Vivo began local production from June last year, while a few more vendors are expected to begin the same in the coming months.
According to the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Manufacturing Association, Samsung's plant assembles 96 percent of the products it sells locally.
Among the global vendors, Samsung assembles almost all of its smartphones in the country, but still depends on the import of feature phones.
Last year, the Galaxy A2 core was the top-selling model for the company – comprising one-fifth of the sales volume – followed by the Galaxy A10.
The overall market is still dominated by feature phones, with a 76.6 percent share and 22.7 million-unit shipments, with a 4.9 percent annual growth as the customs duty for feature phones remained the same at 10 percent in the last budget.