Smartphones are popular with users all over the world. Now, they combine features of a tablet along with a phone and this makes a smartphone a very useful tool for people on the move. Brand awareness is such that consumers are sharp enough to follow brands and buy only their favorites.
As a result, iPhones rule the roost all over the world. Samsung closely follows Apple with their Galaxy range and Nokia with their Nokia Lumia range. As newer models come out, older models of these brands are phased out quickly and it becomes a matter of prestige to own the latest model from a company. However, the only problem here is that all these phones are high-end phones and they easily cost about Rs. 35,000 and more.
Are consumers tech-savvy enough to switch over to cheaper but equally effective models?
Yes, they are, and this fact is reflected in the latest statistics for India. Low-end brands like Micromax, Lava and Intex are becoming increasingly popular with users. Considering the fact that India has more than 130 million mobile phone users, this is a huge business boost for any brand. Currently, Lava and Intel handsets retail for anywhere from Rs 1,000 to about Rs 12,000 which is far lower than the whopping Rs 33,000 cost for Samsung and Rs 44,000 for Apple phones.
These companies have managed to meet the rising demand for smartphones by lowering their prices but retaining almost 90% of the features offered by Samsung, Nokia and Apple. According to IDC data in the Asia/ Pacific Region, homegrown brands shipped more than 46 million handsets and this was more than the 35 million units of Samsung and Apple in the year 2013.
In fact, half a million tablets were sold in India in 2013 and most of them were Micromax Funbooks. Furthermore, phones from Lava, Intex, Micromax and Karbonn come with quad-core 5-inch screens and are Android Jelly Bean. They feature 8 megapixel cameras and are priced at Rs. 15000 or Rs. 11000, which is incredible value. Micromax is at the top of its game in India and it will take a long time for Lava and Intex to match its popularity, branding and pricing. Already it has reinvigorated the sales of the Canvas 4 by discounting it.
So will Micromax win over Lava and Intex?
That remains to be seen as the local market is now very fluid with several brands going head to head to create their own stranglehold on the market. Lava and Micromax have actively started their own PR campaigns in an effort to pull in customers, increase awareness and to encourage customers to purchase local rather than imported brands. The IDC has identified Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, Maxx and Intex as the upcoming players in India and these companies have also aggressively scaled up operations in an effort to win over customers.
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