No matter how many luxury phones smartphone brands may push into the market, and no matter how many high-end, flagship models OEMs launch every year, their major focus will always remain on the budget and mid-range segments, and for a good reason. India is a unique market for various reasons, and more so for smartphone brands.
Unlike the European countries, the United States, or the developed countries in Asia, the Indian smartphone market isn’t homogenous. No two consumers think alike, and our needs and requirements aren’t similar across the board, at least when it comes to features and specs.
Some of us want a smartphone with multiple cameras. Some of us prioritize the working of the phone’s processor. Most of us are aware of the importance of RAM, and thus look for phones with a high RAM size. We can go on and on to prove how all of us do not think alike. However, we do share one common trait: we want pocket-friendly smartphones. Budget-phones will never go out of style or demand, and smartphone brands are aware of how important the budget segment is for them.
Today, we have over half a billion smartphone users in the country, and within the next two years, that number is expected to reach 820 million. The budget and mid-range segments will make up the largest chunk of the consumer base, which highlights the importance of catering to these segments.
If you’ve paid attention to the latest phone releases, you would’ve observed that smartphone OEMs push a lot of budget phones into the market every year. We try to analyse the reasons behind it, and give you a few reasons why mobile phone companies focus on making affordable phones.
- Market share
For smartphone brands, what matters most is the bottom line. In a country like India, where the consumers are budget-conscious and often look at cheaper options, it is important for brands to have a customer-first approach. This is done by offering affordable smartphones that come with decent-to-good features.
Some of the best mobiles under 10000 come with 4GB RAM, dual or triple-rear camera array, a decent selfie camera, and a mid-range processor among other features. They also house 4,000mAh – 5,000mAh batteries, and assure consumers of an excellent user experience.
- Burgeoning middle class
India has the fastest growing middle class populace in the world, and that results in greater demand for affordable smartphones. Smartphone brands understand the opportunity this presents; for OEMs to capture a significant chunk of the market share, they primarily have to cater to the budget and mid-range segments, which inherently include the middle class consumers.
Considering Indian consumers are relatively subdued when it comes to splurging cash on gadgets and devices, the easiest way to cater to them is by offering feature-rich phones at Rs. 15,000 – Rs. 20,000 price range.
This has seen brands like OnePlus inevitably moving down the price and segment ladder. The brand is rumoured to soon launch OnePlus Clover, an upcoming mobile that is 5G-enabled, with a price tag of around Rs. 16,000! OnePlus, until early 2020 stayed away from the mid-range segment, but has changed its modus operandi first by launching OnePlus Nord, the country’s first affordable 5G-enabled handset, and is now expected to announce the launch date of the OnePlus Clover phone.
- Value-for-money phones
Budget phones offer the best value for money. Whether we talk about decent batteries, fast processors, decent RAM size or storage capacity, budget-friendly models launched by the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung and Realme are just as good as the phones in the mid-range segment in terms of functionality and features.
While the camera quality might not be as good, and the smartphone might not come with a pop-up selfie camera, or exude elegance and the wow factor, phones priced below Rs. 10,000 offer seamless user experience, and let users accomplish their tasks with relative ease.
As such, consumers now think twice about spending more on a mid-range or mid-premium device, and opt for affordable phones. Smartphone brands have studied and understood the market needs and requirements, and the demand for affordable smartphones will never decline or fade in the Indian marketplace.