India became the world’s second-largest smartphone market last year, showing no signs of slowing down even as shipments across regions as diverse as the US, China and Western Europe have started to stagnate.

Obviously, everyone from Samsung to Xiaomi to Apple is now paying close attention to the South Asian country, where high-end, high-priced handsets are still nowhere near as prevalent as over in the Western Hemisphere.

Eclipsed by Xiaomi in regional Q1 2018 sales volume, world leader Samsung can find comfort in its clear domination of the premium market on the heels of the Galaxy S9 and S9+ launch.

The online-exclusive Galaxy A8+ also reportedly contributed to the chaebol’s staggering 50 percent share of “premium” smartphone shipments in India between January and March. The company’s overall numbers in this very profitable segment were up 16 percent year-on-year, while OnePlus picked up the OEM silver medal with a single model available during the latest Counterpoint-researched timeframe.

The OnePlus 5T, which stopped selling in the meantime to set the stage for the OP6, was actually the most popular Q1 2018 premium phone in India, capturing a monumental 25 percent share. The Galaxy S9 Plus and “regular” Galaxy S9 followed in second and third place, with 17 and 12 percent slices of the pie respectively, ahead of Q2 Huawei P20 Pro and Nokia 8 Sirocco releases.

Those are the two new flagships to watch, alongside the as-yet unannounced OnePlus 6. Until the next wave of iPhones hits stores, Apple has little hope of gaining regional relevance, as the X and 8 have quickly lost their appeal, leading to a massive 55 percent drop in volumes for the Cupertino-based manufacturer.

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