According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Consumer PULSE research study on the smartphone consumer trends in India, one out of three consumers consider availability of good deals and experiencing latest specification or feature as the prime reasons for buying a new smartphone. This can be attributed to multiple sales events backed by high decibel marketing especially by eTailers with attractive financing schemes helping drive affordability.
Word of mouth continue to be the most prominent source influencing the consumer buying behavior for smartphones. This has been a key factor for success of brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus with their unique go to market approach and spreading the word of mouth augmented by dedicated fan-based community. Brand trust is the highest influencing factor for two third of Xiaomi consumers, followed by value for money proposition and availability of latest specifications.
According to Sachin Mehta, Market Analyst, IDC India “In terms of specifications, consumers have many choices especially from China based vendors at affordable prices. Currently, RAM and processing speed are the most preferred specifications followed by bigger battery size and superior camera quality. Additionally, features like face unlock and waterproofing are yet to gain importance amongst consumers.”
In terms of channel preference, online shopping is gradually becoming very popular with Indian consumers for a variety of reasons. Convenience being one of the most important and basic reasons almost 40% of consumers prefer online channel for the overall comfort and convenience, followed by prices offered by eTailers. In terms of mode of payment while buying a smartphone, EMI options as a choice for payment has increased, followed closely by use of Debit/Credit cards owing to multiple tie ups by eTailers with Banks for cash back offers.” says Upasana Joshi, Associate Research Manager, Channel Research, IDC India.
Within offline channel, two out three consumers visit offline retailer stores to have a hand on experience of the device before making the final purchase. Also, more than half of offline consumers feel that the next vital factor is the near to home convenience which in turn drives the retailer/promoter push at the shop counter in deciding the brand and model choice for the consumer. Consumers continue to prefer paying through cash on retail counters, however a steady uptake is witnessed in payment options through EMIs (Equated Monthly Installment) and Debit/Credit cards. Also, more than half of the offline consumers visit a multi brand outlet, of which two third finally bought the smartphone from these outlets signifying the continued relevance of offline channel in India market.
· With the wider availability of financing, around half of the consumers who had spent INR10K-20K on their previous smartphones upgraded to INR30K+ segment.
· China based vendors such as Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO are perceived as great value for money brands for their superior quality and design and delivering on what they promise.
· Offers and recommendation from family & friends remains the key influencers in the final purchase.
· Overall consumers who visit online stores consider Flipkart as their first choice. However, premium smartphone (INR 30K+) consumers prefer Amazon for buying a smartphone.
· In offline, apart from multi-brand outlets (MBOs), Reliance Digital stores are emerging as a strong choice for buying premium end devices owing to availability of better discounts and offers and store presence across India.
Premium segment (INR 30K+) highlights:
· Apart from good deals/offers, experiencing a new technology/feature is another key reason while making purchase decision.
· Online reviews emerge as one of the key source before making final purchase in the premium segment category.
· OnePlus is the most preferred premium android smartphone brand, especially for consumers who are looking for an Android smartphone. 90% of OnePlus buyers’ first choice is OnePlus as it offers latest specifications and trust the brand
· Apple continues to drive high loyalty amongst its consumers.
IDC India Smartphone PULSE is an extensive smartphone end consumer facing research program covering 8 major cities of India with a sample size of 1700 consumer. It gives detailed and definite insights on the FTBs (First time buyers), pre and post purchase process, channel preference, deep dive on specification choices, price shift patterns, upgrade cycle and future buying preferences of consumers, thereby helping in understanding the overall consumer buying habits for smartphones in India.