91mobiles Smartphone Buyer Insights Survey 2023: a summary

Through our 91mobiles Smartphone Buyers Insight Survey, we got a deeper understanding of how people are buying phones in 2023. Over the past week, we have looked at some of the trends in smartphone ownership and how people decide on a new smartphone, based on data from the survey. We also presented insights on smartphone attributes that matter most to people, where ‘performance’ took the top spot.

You can take a look at the full survey report embedded below for reference. While you’re at it, here’s a quick recap of some of the biggest insights we have gleaned after surveying over 15,000 people.

Ownership patterns

91mobiles smartphone buyer insights survey
  • When it comes to smartphone ownership, Samsung takes the lead as 18.4 percent of the respondents said they owned a Samsung phone. Xiaomi comes in at second with around 13 percent share, dethroning Apple.
  • Speaking of Apple, the brand did not leave a major impact this time around as compared to the survey data from last year. The company saw a downfall from 14.3 percent to 11.1 percent indicating that iPhone ownership among the respondents has decreased.
  • Vivo has managed to secure the third spot in terms of smartphone ownership with an 11.7 percent share, as per survey data.
  • Brands like OnePlus, OPPO, Realme, and POCO were not able to find many buyers while on the other hand, Motorola and iQOO saw marginal growth from last year. This could possibly be due to frequent phone launches across various price segments from both companies. 

Brand loyalty among smartphone users

91mobiles smartphone buyer insights survey
  • When it comes to brand loyalty, Apple is right up top with 1 in 5 people wanting to own an iPhone as their next smartphone.
  • Just behind the Cupertino giant is Samsung with 18.8 percent of people wanting to purchase a Samsung phone when the time arises. This is closely followed by OnePlus which has built strong brand loyalty over a short period thanks to its value-for-money handsets.
  • People also seem to be interested in Realme and Vivo smartphones as both brands managed to grab a 7.9 percent share each in terms of brand preference.

How people decide on a new smartphone

91mobiles smartphone buyer insights survey
  • As per our latest survey data, a majority of people shift to a new smartphone because their current phone does not perform as well as it used to. About 41 percent of the respondents may upgrade to a new phone if they face issues and difficulties with their current one.
  • In order to experience the latest features and innovations, around 36 percent of survey participants are likely to shift to a new smartphone just for that. This makes them stay ahead of the curve and get their hands on new features early on.
  • Another reason people may opt for a new smartphone is when they come across a good deal in the form of discounts and offers, which could be during festive sales or just in general.
  • Then there are some who may upgrade to a new handset only when they get good and appealing deals that help them get the smartphone at a discounted price.

Smartphone attributes that matter most to people while buying a phone

Smartphone attributes that-matter
  • Roughly 42 percent of the survey participants prioritise performance when looking for a new smartphone.
  • While most people look out for the best performance, there are many who take a deep interest in the camera capabilities of a new smartphone. Around 1 in 5 people go through the handset’s camera functionality and photography output.
  • Around 17.6 percent of respondents say that the brand name plays a crucial role in their smartphone buying decision. This is where a brand’s trust factor and brand loyalty comes into play.
  • Those who fear running out of battery quickly give high importance to battery endurance when buying a new smartphone. This is evident from the survey data as 10 percent of respondents chose battery as their topmost preferred attribute.
  • There’s only a small margin of people who prioritise display and design.

How people prefer to purchase a new smartphone

Most popular price segment for smartphones

  • Around 33 percent of the survey respondents own a sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone. This shows that a large portion of the market is still price-sensitive.
  • The largest chunk of buyers, however, are present in the Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 segment, with roughly 41 percent.
  • The Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 price segment seems to find fewer buyers as about only 14 percent of survey takers own a smartphone in that range. The remaining respondents possess a handset priced Rs 30,000 and above.

Buying a new phone in 2023

  • When asked the survey group whether they would upgrade to a new smartphone this year, around 70 percent of the respondents are likely to make the switch.
  • 15.6 of the people say they are not willing to purchase a phone in 2023.
  • The remaining are not sure whether they would be purchasing a new phone this year.

5G phone ownership

  • With 5G smartphones more prevalent in the market than ever before, 27.4 percent of the survey groups claim to own a 5G smartphone
  • The rest of the 72.6 percent are yet to upgrade to a 5G handset.

Preferred mode of payment for a new smartphone

  • When buying a new smartphone, almost half of the survey participants are willing to pay the full amount upfront regardless of the phone’s price.
  • With both smartphone manufacturers and retailers offering attractive schemes such as EMI, pay-later, and credit card options, around 35 percent of people rely on such services when purchasing a smartphone.
  • The remaining 16 percent of survey takers resort to other modes of payment.