Amazon India’s smartphone business grew 30% y-o-y in 2022 on the back of an increase in upgrades from feature phones to smartphones, demand for 5G phones and discounts during the festive season. For Amazon, tier-2 and tier-3 cities continue to drive sales, mainly in the pricing category of Rs 10,000-20,000.
“Three out of four smartphones on the platform are sold in tier-2 and tier-3 markets. In 2022, we saw customers spending a lot more time with their smartphones led by work from home, video calls and OTT consumption. Based on these factors, we saw an increased propensity for smartphone upgrades, customers’ preference for products with high performance and inclination toward gaming,” Ranjit Babu, director of wireless and TV at Amazon India, told FE.
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“We expect 5G to be a huge driver of growth in the coming year,” Babu said, adding that the growth will continue to be on similar lines.
The growth in smartphone sales is despite a decline in overall smartphone shipments in 2022. According to Counterpoint Research, smartphone shipments are estimated at 160 million units, a fall of 5% y-o-y in 2022 owing to macroeconomic factors affecting consumer demand in the entry and budget segments. In 2023, the research firm expects a 10% increase in smartphone shipments at 175 million units supported by feature phone-to-smartphone migration, local smartphone production, new use cases, ease in supply chain constraints.
Brands like OnePlus, Samsung, Xiaomi were the most preferred in 2022. In India, currently, Xiaomi has the highest market share of around 21% in India, followed by Samsung at 19%, and Oppo which also includes OnePlus at 10%. However, OnePlus is the most preferred smartphone brand in the country, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi, according to a survey by technology research firm Techarc.
“iQOO is another brand that we have seen significant traction in the last year. We are now seeing Indian brands like Lava getting aggressive on price points that have also seen traction from customers,” Babu said. He added that in the premium smartphone segments, the growth was in double digits but not as much as the sub-Rs 20,000 segment.
According to analysts, features such as better camera quality, better performance, higher battery life and bigger screens have been on the radar of consumers when they upgrade their smartphones, and next year onwards, more such features will also be seen in the entry-level 5G smartphones.
On 5G, Babu said the price points for 5G smartphones have already come down given the fact that an entry-level 5G phone is available at Rs 10,000 on Amazon and currently there is no sales pressure seen on the platform due to inflation. Further, no-cost EMI options will continue to fuel sales on its platforms going forward, he added.
According to Counterpoint Research, India’s 5G smartphone shipments will cross the 100-million mark in the April-June quarter and exceed 4G smartphone shipments by the end of 2023. In 2022, the 5G smartphone shipments are estimated to have grown around 80% y-o-y with the increase in smartphones in the lower price bands.
In the Great Indian Festival, Amazon saw a strong uptake in the mid-range smartphone price segment with around 80% of the sales in the sub-Rs 15,000 categories. The company saw more than 1 million new customers who bought smartphones for the first time on its platform. During the sales, the customers mostly preferred Xiaomi, Samsung (M Series), realme, iQOO, OnePlus and iPhones.
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Lately, Amazon has been working to block fake reviews through constant checks using a combination of both technology and people. “We want Amazon customers to shop with confidence. Our work continues to prevent fake reviews from ever appearing on our marketplace and we continue to block after identifying fake reviews consistently. We have also introduced things like verified purchase reviews to build the confidence of consumers,” Babu said.
Through its new customer engagement initiatives like Mobile Insider and Amazon Live, Amazon has been focussing to help its users take an informed decisions. Through Mobile Insider, the company partners with technology firms that provide unadulterated reviews to consumers. Similarly, using Amazon Live, consumers can listen to influencers and take decisions about their purchases accordingly.