BY GOKUL BHAGABATI
New Delhi, Oct 7 (IANS) Smartphone sales in India have already picked up pace ahead of the festive season due to pent-up demand from the lockdown and new use cases like education of children even as 200 million smartphones in the country are waiting to be upgraded, industry experts said on Wednesday.
The rise in the growth of smartphone sales is likely to jump further now due to the festive season offers as e-commerce platforms like Flipkart gears up for the Big Billion Days and Amazon for Great Indian Festival from the middle of this month.
“I think the past three months were better than industry expectations,” Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Counterpoint Research, told IANS.
India’s smartphone shipments declined by 51 per cent year-over-year to just over 18 million units in the second quarter of this year as April was a washout due to the Covid-19 restrictions, according to a research from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service.
However, signs of recovery in the India market emerged in June itself as the report said that pent-up smartphone demand after April, May lockdown pushed the June 2020 volumes to pre-Covid levels and the smartphone user base in India beyond the half-a-billion mark.
In June, Indian smartphone shipments registered a decline of just 0.3 per cent year-over-year.
“This build up to the festive season is quite strong along with new launches…So original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and retailers will try to make up for the lost demand during the pandemic,” Pathak said.
“However, the average selling price will be lower than expected as there is a visible economic impact of the pandemic,” he said.
Smartphone makers also revealed that they have seen a surge in the demand for their products.
“Demand for low-end and mid-range smartphones has picked up… Since the time we launched our smartphones with Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), our smartphone business has maintained strong growth in India. The HONOR 9X Pro, 9A, and 9S were sold out every time they went on sale on the e-commerce platforms,” Charles Peng, President, HONOR India, told IANS.
Similarly, Samsung is also bullish on the India market as the South Korean smartphone maker aims to log $3.5 billion gross merchandise value (GMV) for its highly successful Galaxy ‘M’ series by the end of this year.
Samsung India said it is aiming to sell two crore units of its online-exclusive Galaxy ‘M’ series smartphones in India by the end of 2020.
“Our average selling price (ASP) for the Galaxy ‘M’ series is likely to grow at 50 per cent in 2020. We will double our online business market share in 2020 on the back of 100 per cent growth (year-on-year) in the second half (July-December) this year,” Asim Warsi, Senior Vice President, Samsung India, earlier said.
Another smartphone maker, Realme, last week revealed that it has sold over 2.31 lakh units of its newly-launched narzo 20 series smartphones in India and it is aiming to reach 50 lakh narzo users with the new series launch.
According to an Amazon India survey of close to 60,000 respondents from tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 cities and towns 38 per cent of respondents are looking to buy a mid-range smartphone between Rs 15,000-Rs 25,000, making it the most desired price point for the festive season.
Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi emerged as the most preferred smartphone brands, with over 50 per cent of respondents looking to buy Samsung mobile phones followed by OnePlus and Xiaomi, showed the findings of the “Great Indian Mobile” survey released last week.
With regards to product attributes, camera, battery capacity, display quality, RAM and fast charging (in this order) are the top features determining purchase decisions, said the report.
Amazon India said that it is using these insights to work with its sellers and brand partners to fulfill the wishes of the smartphone customers during this festive season.
A Snapdeal spokesperson also said that the company has analysed the user purchase patterns over the past many festive seasons and conducted a survey with its users about the features that shoppers look for in smartphones.
“From that, it is derived that Snapdeal shoppers are looking for good battery and camera phones. Accordingly, Snapdeal offers deals from multiple brands including Oppo, Redmi, and Realme smartphones packed with features that shoppers desire,” the company spokesperson said.
Another factor that is likely to drive smartphone sales growth in India is that the country still has over 200 million of smartphones purchased three years or beyond which are due for an upgrade, Pathak informed.
The average upgrade rate for smartphones in India is around 2.5 years, he said.
(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)