Feature Phones On A Rebound In India

by CXOtoday News Desk    Dec 22, 2016


Feature phone user

At a time when India happens to be a major market for new smartphones and advanced technology, a recent research study by Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) showed that 85% of feature phone users do not prefer switching to smartphones. These users indicate that functional benefits, combined with durability, battery life, and the ease of repair, are coveted factors why they are not likely to switch to smartphones.

The study was conducted in joint collaboration with Kantar IMRB on Smartphone and Feature Phone Usage and behavior in 2016-2017. Hemant Mehta, Senior Director of Media & Retail at Kantar IMRB told ET Telecom quoting statistics, “With the advent of 4G, reduced data costs and free voice and SMS, we expect to see even more rapid changes in the mobile landscape. It is, therefore, important to keep a continuous pulse on the way consumers interact with and use their mobile phones.” [Read the full article here]

It is interesting to note that low-end handsets are still in demand and it is not only the village folk who prefer feature phones. As per new statistics, a whopping 75% of feature phones are used by the upper socio economic class. Also one cannot deny that smartphone shipments have only of late started to overtake that of feature phones. This indicates that feature phones is still being preferred and purchased.

A big example would be the recent announcements on the launch of Nokia 150 for Indian market. Samsung Guru E120, Karbonn K72 Plus and Intex Eco Beats are other clear examples of this trend.

There were some additional information, which ought to get the attention of the smartphone makers; Feature phone users spend comparatively more on the mobile plans. The ARPU is noted to be 20% higher as compared on a national average basis. Points like these and several others, are a guidance to phonemakers, and the future of what they consider a lucrative smartphone market.

Preeti Desai, the country manager for Mobile Marketing Association of India (MMA) said in a media statement, “The insights will help marketers use the medium effectively and efficiently. It is a great data set for marketers to reassess and optimize their spending with the most impactful allocations in their marketing mix, while leveraging mobile with double digit spend.”

In emerging markets the average lifetime of premium phone is between 2.2 and 2.5 years, according to a Techcrunch report, while basic mobiles have an average lifetime of three years and up. Gartner noted that sales of feature phones accounted for a majority, over 60% of total mobile device sales last year, leaving plenty of scope for upgrades as smartphones continue to become more affordable. And this is something that smartphone players should act on.