Affordable Mobile Data Spurs Indian Feature Phone Users

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 02, 2018

featurephone

One out of three feature phone users in India intend to purchase a data enabled phone in next one year, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) research study on the mobile phone consumer trends in India. With the availability of affordable mobile data; the featurephone users are getting more aware of the different use cases of the internet and want to experience it.

However, affordability of the mobile devices in terms of upfront purchase cost remains a strong barrier  for the much needed migration of these featurephone users to smartphones.  With the launch of 4G FeaturePhones by Jio and several other brands, the industry is trying to bridge this affordability gap by providing telco bundled value to this large feature phone user base, with one out of two feature phone consumers showing strong intent to buy a 4G featurephone in next 6 months.

IDC India Smartphone PULSE is an extensive smartphone end consumer facing research program covering 10 major cities of India. It gives detailed insights on the purchase process helping in understanding the consumer buying habits for smartphones and featurephones in India.

One out of three mobile phone consumers are willing to spend more than their planned budget and more than half ready to spend between $100 to $200 on a new smartphone. This reflects the attractiveness of this mass segment which contributes almost half of the India smartphone market. and is dominated by brands like Xiaomi, Samsung and Motorola. The availability of consumer offers like zero cost EMIs, easy exchange programs at both offline retail stores and online are additional incentives for customers to spend more.

Brand remains one of the major decision factors while replacing their old smartphone, with almost 40% of the consumers of Samsung and Xiaomi staying brand loyal in their next smartphone purchase. Major replacement driver for a smartphone user is broken or lost smartphone for almost half of the respondents. This was followed by need to get a new phone with better specifications and technology like higher RAM, better camera, more memory.

According to Himanshu Jain, Market Analyst, IDC India “Word of mouth and recommendation by family and friends continue to be the most prominent factors influencing the smartphone consumer’s purchase decision. In Tier 1 cities like Delhi, Mumbai & Bengaluru, specifications and brand value are other key drivers of choice of a brand, whereas in Tier 2&3 cities, apart from price, consumers also prefer design and good after sales service.”

Retailer or promoter push is the most prominent factors for choosing the brand and model selection. With 25 to 30 smartphone launches every month on an average, it gets difficult for a consumer to make a choice from the variety of options.

Almost half of the consumers check online portals for price comparisons and more than 70% consumers take recommendations from their family, friends & colleagues for brand & model choice. Even consumers buying online are visiting offline stores for touch and feel with 40% online consumers admitted visiting stores in their vicinity.

According to Sachin Mehta, Market Analyst, IDC India “The online channel is finding appeal across consumer segments by high decibel marketing, consumer offers and  multiple round of sales. Around one third of the online purchases try to get information about prices and specifications via online blogs and reviews”.

In offline channel, near to home convenience plays vital role in selecting channel of purchase for more than 75% consumers who buy from offline. Retailers, especially, mom & pop stores develop relationship who in turn help consumers make brand and model decisions. Retailer discounts and offers entice  around 40% of the consumers.

“In offline, around half of the consumers want to pay via cash followed by zero cost EMIs. Interestingly, 3/4th  of the consumers pay via cash while buying a high-end phone above $400″ adds Mehta.

However, consumers are willing to hold on to their smartphones for a longer period now, with more than 50% of the respondents having replaced their phones after 18 months or more. However, this is also an opportunity for new brands to capture the other 50% who are more prone to experimenting and replacing their devices more frequently.