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In India, Xiaomi and OnePlus success boosted by word of mouth marketing: IDC

India's smartphone market is being driven by the availability of good deals and new financing schemes from various brands with Xiaomi, OnePlus doing well in terms of brand trust

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |
December 20, 2018 12:48:53 pm
India, India smartphone market, India Xiaomi, Xiaomi brand, Xiaomi India, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 6T India, IDC smartphone survey India’s smartphone market is driven by the availability of deals, discounts and new financing schemes. Brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus have done well thanks to the word of mouth marketing they have used extensively.  (Image source: Bloomberg)

India’s smartphone market is being driven by the availability of deals and new financing schemes from various brands, according to a new survey shared by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

For individual brands though, word of mouth can prove to be a major source in influencing consumer behaviour and decision. IDC says this is what has helped brands like Xiaomi, OnePlus with their unique approach.

Both players have traditionally relied heavily on a dedicated fan-based community to spread the word, rather than just television or outdoor advertisements. In fact, thanks to Xiaomi and OnePlus’ success with their ‘fan events’ other upcoming brands have tried to copy something similar in India.

IDC’s survey also showed that when it comes to Xiaomi, “brand trust is the highest influencing factor for two third of its consumers.” This is followed by value for money proposition and availability of latest specifications in the brand’s case.

The IDC Consumer PULSE research study on smartphone consumer trends in India, shows that one out of three consumers look at deals, when picking a new device for purchase. Users also want to experience the latest specification or feature when upgrading to a newer, more expensive smartphone.

Multiple online sales held by e-commerce players coupled with new financing schemes have helped drive affordability for phones, according to IDC.

“In terms of specifications, consumers have many choices especially from China based vendors at affordable prices. Currently, RAM and processing speed are the most preferred specifications followed by bigger battery size and superior camera quality,” Sachin Mehta, Market Analyst, IDC India said.

It also looks like India consumers are now more than willing to upgrade to more expensive phones. The survey said that half of the consumers, who had spent Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 on the previous phone were ready to upgrade the Rs 30,000 plus segment.

For China-based players like Xiaomi, vivo and OPPO, the perception is that these are “value for money brands” due to “superior quality and design and delivering on what they promise.”

Still the final decision for a purchase is often based on offers and recommendations from family and friends. Users are also relying more on online reviews before they take the final decision, at least for consumers shopping in the above Rs 30,000 segment.

OnePlus remain the most “preferred premium Android smartphone brand,” and 90% of OnePlus buyers consider the brand as their first choice. The reason for this that the brand is seen as offering latest specifications and has managed to win consumer trust.

The survey also shows that in this premium segment, Apple continues to drive high loyalty among its consumers.

Where channel preference goes for smartphone shopping, online is gradually becoming very popular with Indian consumers. IDC says that 40 per cent of consumers prefer online due to overall comfort and convenience, followed by prices offered by eTailers.

Read more: OnePlus 5G phone prototype spotted in company’s internal meet

Flipkart was the first choice for consumers when it came to online shopping for smartphones. However, those in the Rs 30,000 plus segment prefer Amazon. It should be noted that OnePlus which is the leader in the above Rs 30,000 segment, is an Amazon exclusive.

EMI as a mode of payment has increased followed closely by use of Debit/Credit cards owing to multiple tie ups by eTailers with cashback offers for certain banks, adds the survey.

Within offline channel, two out three consumers visit offline retailer stores to have a hands-on experience of the device before making the final purchase. Consumers continue to prefer paying through cash on retail counters, showed the survey. However, EMI and debit/credit cards are rising as another choice of payments in offline as well.

The survey also showed that offline market is still very relevant in India as more than half of the offline consumers visit a multi-brand outlet. IDC India Smartphone PULSE survey covered 8 major cities of India with a sample size of 1700 consumers.

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