Xiaomi has beaten Samsung and Lenovo as the most preferred smartphone brand among Android users in India looking to upgrade their devices in 2017, as per a report by Strategy Analytics. The said report suggests that 26 percent of Indian Android users prefer Xiaomi as their next smartphone brand. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one third of Android owners plan to replace their smartphone in the next six months.

Xiaomi is followed by Samsung and Apple as the second most preferred brand among 12 percent smartphone users. Only 2 percent users prefer home-grown smartphone maker Micromax, while OnePlus is seen as their next smartphone brand by 6 percent of the panel. Strategy Analytics notes that Lenovo Moto combined have the highest Android install base of 22 percent while Samsung’s share is 18 percent. Xiaomi and Micromax have Android install base of 16 percent and 9 percent respectively.

“Indian Android smartphone owners are tech savvy with definite brand preferences and specification requirements. It is striking how poorly Micromax is rated in terms of purchase consideration relative to its position in the market,” said David Kerr, Senior Vice President at Strategy Analytics.

While Xiaomi might be going great guns in India as far as its market share is concerned (10.7% as per a recent IDC report), It’s hard to draw a conclusion that it is the most preferred brand for Indians looking to upgrade their smartphones, given that the sample size of the survey is some 2000 odd participants from India’s 300 million strong smartphone market. Strategy Analytics tells us that this sample audience consisted of both urban and rural Android users in India.

When presented with this question, author of the report and Senior Vice President at Strategy Analytics, David Kerr, said that he feels the sample size for the survey is enough to deem Xiaomi the most preferred upgrade choice for Indian smartphone users. In response to an email query by Digit, he stated, “The difference between Xiaomi and others is statistically significant. The main takeaway is growth in Xiaomi appeal which is confirmed by our supply side analysis of actual shipments as noted in the full report and our complementary report:  India Smartphone Vendor and OS Marketshare: Q4 2016.”

While this does not really justify the small sample size for the survey, it confirms that inputs have been taken from sources other than the participants of the survey.

The report goes on to note that these numbers may vary dramatically post the entry of HMD Global with the iconic Nokia-brand. “With Nokia reentering the market this month, a powerful emotive brand will be added as an option to those dissatisfied with the current status quo. Micromax as well as Sony, LG, Lenovo and Motorola have cause for concern,” Strategy Analytics noted in its statement.

Xiaomi has gained significant market share in the Indian smartphone market since its entry with Mi 3 in 2014. The company recently started its second manufacturing unit and claims to push out a new smartphone every second. “Xiaomi for the first time since it started operations in the Indian market was ranked among the top three vendors in Q4 2016. The vendor grew a whopping 125% YoY and 17% QoQ and captured 10% of market share in India in the quarter,” added Rajeev Nair, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

Strategy Analytics says over half of Indian smartphone buyers plan to spend only between Rs 10,000 – Rs 20,000 while buying their next smartphone. The premium smartphone segment consisting of handsets priced above Rs 35,000 remains small at just 6 percent. It is space currently being dominated by Samsung and Apple.