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Outlook towards the evolution of the smartphone industry in India and the road ahead

India’s evolution from telephones to feature phones and now smartphones have been a rapid one and the country is currently the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market with 23 percent CAGR.

Madhav Sheth
23rd Jul 2019
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Realme

Madhav Sheth, CEO, Realme

A millennial would perhaps remember the thrill of taking a personal call in one’s living room, where the wired landline was placed at all time. The advent of feature phones, thereafter, was a revelation, ushering us into a world of simplistic phone games, late-night texting, and mobile calls. The disruption reached its pinnacle with the launch of smartphones. Enabled with the internet and an operating system, smartphones allowed us to carry a world of seamless connectivity right in our pockets. 


India’s evolution from telephones to feature phones and now smartphones have been a rapid one and the country is currently the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market with 23 percent CAGR, as per a research report by Morgan Stanley. Considering another industry report by Canalys, India has overtaken the United States to emerge as the second-largest market for smartphones, trailing behind China.  


Piquing Interest with Smacking Technology 


At present, while the smartphone companies in India face stiff competition from domestic and international players alike, the sector is consistently booming. For this advancement, the credit must go to various thriving smartphone brands, which have been successful in ensuring a riveted mindshare in the field by bringing to fore the latest technological advancements. 


The market remains abuzz with new launches, each packing in more superior features than both, the predecessors and the counterparts. 


While the previous generation smartphones offered vital functions of two-way communication through texts, calling, and MMS etc., the new products are bringing trailblazing technologies like dual back cameras, finger sensors, larger batteries, optimised screen-to-body ratio, and more. These devices are not only enabling a connected infrastructure but also have condensed the world into a small digital village through advanced video streaming facilities, mobile-friendly collaboration tools and more. 


Empowered with the right apps, smartphones have become an integral part of the younger generation that comprises the workforce and students, enabling productivity and efficiencies. 


The Upcoming Innovations 


Industry-leading innovation is on its way for the smartphone industry in India. Building on the foundation of trailblazing technology, the smartphones of the future will pack in features that once could not be perceived by a human mind. 


The industry is rift with the advent of 5G, and several forward-looking brands are gearing up to make the technology accessible to one and all. One should also keep an eye out for stunning features such as a 64MP camera or in-built projectors that can turn smartphones into gaming consoles or a theatre.


Providing an impeccable screen-to-body ratio is also high on the agenda of OEMs. While the industry has already embraced diamond-cutting and gradient unibody designs, the future would reveal newer displays, right from notch to dewdrop screen types to full-screens. 


While these are some of the speculated transformations, users should also watch out for advanced technologies reaching smartphones. Artificial intelligence and augmented reality are some of the key technologies that are going to play a chief role in the evolution of smartphones of tomorrow. 


What the future holds? 


The dawn of the future shines brightly on the smartphone market in India. As per the estimates released by Cisco, the nation’s smartphone users are expected to double by 2022, constituting 829 million. By the same time period, smartphones will claim 38 percent of the total number of connected devices, going by the Visual Networking Index by Cisco. A slew of new smartphone users will also come from the feature phone users. 


As per Counterpoint Research, the feature phone market in India has grown faster than the smartphones. The country still has over 400 million feature phone users. However, OEMs are working on their entry-level smartphone offering, in order to extend an all-rounder experience for first-time upgraders. 


Additionally, both the online and offline channels are expected to contribute to the increasing sales of smartphones. The brick and mortar stores are still very much relevant in the country, comprising almost 60 percent of the total market, as per industry reports. While ecommerce channels have contributed to more than half of the smartphone sales as per RedSeer, the brands will be increasingly focusing on the offline channels to optimise their outreach. 


As smartphones continue to become an integral part of our everyday lives, providing good quality products and services has emerged as a salient differentiator for the aspirational brands. For both online and offline mediums, after-sale service can also become the decisive factor while making the purchase decision. Brands will be motivated to provide quicker turnarounds, in order to ensure optimum service quality. 


In a nutshell, interesting times marked with the omnichannel approach and technological advancements await to embrace smartphones in the near future. Users can also expect more flagship products in the mid-tier range, packing powerful features while offering the best value for money.



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