How smartphone buying is changing in India

Published: July 24, 2019 1:04:06 AM

Generation Z’s higher digital footprint is also making it easier for brands to better understand the current and emerging market needs.

This approach also helps them in developing a product that is the perfect market fit and scalable.

By Madhav Sheth 

From simply a fashion statement to becoming an integral part of people’s day-to-day lifestyles, smartphones have come a long way. Smartphones of today have replaced multiple utility accessories including calculator, notepad, watch, alarm clock, even a television set and a gaming console. With mobile wallets, payment gateways and card information stored online, smartphones are quickly making our physical wallets redundant as well. All these high-end functionalities come on top of enabling seamless and swift communication. Let us trace the evolution of consumption patterns and where the smartphone industry is now headed.

Competitive features to the fore: Earlier, it would suffice for a smartphone to have an Android operating system, a VGA camera, and a resistive touchscreen. Today, even budget-friendly smartphones come loaded with features that exceed the ones boasted by yesteryears’ high-end phones. Customers are now moving towards dewdrop full screens, pop-up selfie cameras, high-resolution camera phones, and powerful processors. Now, the game is being upped with foldable smartphones, quad-cameras, and AI for performance and visual enhancements in the market.

Digital purchase, digital decision: While the adage previously said ‘customer is the king’, today, the statement has been rebranded as ‘content is the king’. In this day and age, customers prefer making informed decisions, taken after gaining in-depth insights into a product or a service. Not just this, the present-day digitally-empowered customers compare all the alternatives available to them before zeroing in on a product. This is why cutting-edge smartphone brands which have engineered high-end products in cost-effective price range are able to cause massive disruption in the global market, despite the presence of industry incumbents. They provide best-in-line features to their customers, including everything from the in-display fingerprint sensor to tear-drop notch and fast charging, even in entry-level smartphones—making online research an indispensable part of the consumer buying decision.

The emergence of Gen Z: Together with the millennial population, Gen Z has emerged as the trendsetter in the market and the demographic is being tapped by the market players. Generation Z’s higher digital footprint is also making it easier for brands to better understand the current and emerging market needs. This approach also helps them in developing a product that is the perfect market fit and scalable.

Online to offline: Though the ongoing digitalisation is rapidly eating up the offline market, people’s proclivity to buy smartphones offline is far from fading away – especially in tier II/tier III cities and rural geographies. This is because an offline purchase gives a customer higher satisfaction with ‘try and buy’ experience as compared to on-screen assessment experienced in the digital purchase. The brick-and-mortar stores, furthermore, constitute nearly 60% of the current market. In order to tap this sizeable opportunity, smartphone brands are now leveraging the O2O (online-to-offline) strategy with the perfect mix of OOH (out-of-home) initiatives and traditional marketing. The market development is enabling more customers to avail of cutting-edge products without changing their buying preferences.

The writer is CEO, Realme

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