The impact of rapid developments in the telecom and technology sector is increasingly being noticed as these become integral in the everyday lives of both companies and consumers. This demand for superior technology, innovation and improved connectivity is shaping the global economy. In recent years, India has also witnessed changes in the way people communicate and consume information. Today the country has become such an important player among the emerging markets that countless global brands maintain that it is crucial to invest here. Every brand is looking at India as a huge landing ground for its innovations that could lead to its emergence as a leader in the use of new tools and technology.
The country’s 1.3 billion citizens translate into a huge opportunity that no brand can afford to ignore. India is also considered to be one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world, accounting for 27.5 million devices sold in the second quarter of 2016, up by 17% from the previous quarter, as per IDC. A market growing at a fast pace is always one of the first reasons for global brands to enter. In recent reports, it has been identified that 2G mobile connection is still common since it requires low-power and provides solid low frequency coverage especially in rural areas. But the transition from 2G to 4G directly or from 3G to 4G has been quick, which cannot be overlooked by global players. Mobile subscriptions in India are expected to hit 1.4 billion by 2021, as per the Ericsson Mobility Report, released in June 2016. The numbers shared point out that the service providers are looking at great potential in India as the current situation states that the provisions in telecom are still to reach its pinnacle. Service providers such as Idea, Vodafone, BSNL, Reliance, Airtel, etc., are constantly focused towards improving the quality of connectivity and telecom towers, especially in rural areas.
Changing consumer behaviour has made it a challenging market for brands; users are now more open to experimenting with new brands and are ready to shell out a sizeable portion of their income on a smartphone for better features and experience. To meet such changing needs brands are constantly investing in research and development (R&D). For example, the concept of selfies and creative photography has been embraced by youngsters for updating people about their social life. A good camera is a deal-clincher when it comes to purchasing a phone. The usage of front camera has taken a paradigm shift, youth trends and social networking platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., are supporting the constant usage of this feature and smartphone brands are putting their R&D to the test in perfect camera technology. Based on this trend, brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Gionee have become the go-to brands for consumers with their launch of selfie focused smartphones since early 2016. And this constant shift towards new trends and technology continues with the latest excitement surrounding dual front camera technology.
The Indian government’s efforts to promote developing technologies has played an important role in opening the doors to business leaders of the world to create local opportunities. Smartphone makers are being encouraged to create devices for the domestic market which supports the government’s efforts in digitalising the country. Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo have all set up manufacturing units in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, with Apple announcing the same early this year. With so many changes happening so fast, India—as a critical market for all smartphone brands—has reciprocated with a great response at each point. This is one factor why all smartphone brands consider India as a major market that they need to focus on.
The writer is global vice president, Oppo and president, Oppo India