Indian smartphone buyers are moving up the value chain: 91mobiles Smartphone Buyer Insights Survey 2021

More than 30% people use smartphones priced above Rs 20k

As part of our annual Smartphone Buyer Insights Survey 2021, we already have a bunch of insights on ownership patterns, brand loyalty, how people decide on a new smartphone, and attributes that matter the most to them while buying. In the midst of all these data points, we came across a clear trend that warranted a closer look. As it turns out, almost 30 percent people use smartphones priced above Rs 20k, indicating that us Indians are moving up the value chain. 

Of course, this trend hasn’t emerged suddenly, and even in our previous surveys, there has been a clear indication of more people opting for mid-range smartphones as compared to those who are buying budget or entry-level devices. The fact is, an increasing number of smartphone buyers are opting for devices that are more capable, feature-rich, and loaded than ever before. While the trend has been evident from before, the pandemic does seem to have contributed to this as well. Many of us have been cooped up indoors, and our smartphones have been playing an even greater role in our lives. Apart from keeping us connected, these devices have increasingly been entrusted with more responsibilities – helping us work from home, learn from home, and keeping us entertained at home. In such a scenario, people want capable, reliable smartphones that can handle these tasks well, contributing to the jump in demand. 

In fact, when we compared the numbers from our 2020 survey to the responses we received for the 2021 edition of the Smartphone Buyer Insights Survey, we see that the number of people owning smartphones priced above Rs 20k has increased in recent times, About 30 percent users now own smartphones prices higher than Rs 20,000, as compared to 26 percent in 2020. This shows how Indians are moving up the value chain as far as smartphones are concerned. 

Referring to another data point that emerged from our survey, almost 90 percent users have expressed interest in buying a 5G-enabled smartphone whenever they upgrade their devices next. While 5G phones these days are getting increasingly affordable, they are still positioned in the mid-range or higher, with most of them costing over Rs 20k. This also indicates that the upward swing is likely to continue unabated, especially since 5G smartphones that come across as solid all-rounders and really capable sit even higher up the price ladder.

Smartphone companies are happy to address this surge in demand, as indicated by the launch data available with 91mobiles. Based on the data, it appears that nine smartphones priced between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 were launched by different brands in Q1, 2020, while the same figure for Q1, 2021 stands at 18 (these numbers count different RAM / storage variants separately). Brands like Xiaomi and Samsung have been especially active this year, launching multiple models and variants in this price segment. In fact, brands like Xiaomi and Vivo, which have mainly been playing in the affordable and mid-range segments previously, are now eyeing the premium league. Offerings like the Mi 10, the new Mi 11 range, and Vivo’s X60 lineup are touching new highs for these brands as far as price stickers are concerned, which shows these companies are getting more confident in taking on the likes of Samsung and Apple… the two brands that have been ruling the premium smartphone segment.

In sum, Indians are moving up the value chain as far as smartphones are concerned, and pandemic effect or not, this bodes well for the brands who’re scrambling to offer more loaded options than ever before, as well as their consumers, who’re now armed (or will be soon) with capable devices moving into the 5G era.