Premium Android phones may be helping iPhones -- unintentionally

28th August 2023
Premium Android phones may be helping iPhones -- unintentionally

August 28, 2023: Barring Samsung, which was already in the scene, the new brands like OnePlus, Vivo, OPPO and others in the premium android space have created a growing feeder segment for Apple in India, bringing smartphone users closer to their aspirational brand says tech analyst TechArc
We are all seeing how ‘premiumisation’ is redefining the market structure of smartphones in India.  The brands that were heavily skewed towards the affordability side are seeing dip in their market shares and those having premium offerings are witnessing growth.
There was a time when the Indian smartphone market above ₹20,000 was just under 1% of the total sales and later got stagnant at around 3-4% for almost half a decade between 2014-2019.  This 3x growth was also a big jump for India and much of its credit goes to the successful creation of mid-premium pioneered successfully by OnePlus. While from global parameters it was a mid-premium market, for India it was an expansion of the premium market.
Soon, we started defining the premium segment as anything above ₹25,000, and in some cases ₹30,000 depending on the benchmarks defined by various market research agencies tracking the market.  At Techarc we define smartphones above ₹25,000 as premium which is further segmented into luxe with a threshold of ₹50,000.  So, the premium at Techarc means ₹25,000-50,000 and luxe is made by the smartphones selling at more than ₹50,000.
How Techarc segments smartphone market by pricing

Our segmentation basis pricing was done after analysing the journey of typical smartphone users in India.  This was done analysing a data set of over 250 million or 25 crore smartphone users by studying their switching patterns. In this analysis we found, barring outliers who would take any route in their smartphone journey, that there were definite segments according to which users would evolve.

  • Entry segment with users buying smartphones of up to ₹6,000 with the sole objective of access to a smartphone.
  • Basic segment with users buying smartphones between ₹6,000 - ₹12,000 with the criteria being to experience good performance in few features and functions, primarily camera, display, and RAM.
  • Mid segment comprising of users buying smartphones between ₹12,000 - ₹25,000 where factors determining purchase involve looking for enhanced features along with the phone being able to support their ‘always on’ behaviour.  The battery becomes a factor here in addition to being able to take good pictures in all indoor and outdoor conditions and a good display to consume content, etc.
  • Premium segment as defined by the smartphones priced between ₹25,000 - ₹50,000. The criteria here is not only the experience basis the features and functions, but also about the design, finish, materials being used and a desire to appear distinct from the masses. This is where brand also starts to become important.
  • Finally, the luxe segment defined by smartphones priced more than ₹50,000.  Here the expectation is to get the latest of the technology from credible brands.  Of course, the desire to appear extremely distinct is highest here for which price of the device becomes a default barrier.

In India this is how majority of the smartphone users evolve over a period of time.   This does not mean everyone takes this route, can also skip a few hops and it is also not necessary that everyone tread this evolutionary journey to better the experience as well as satiate the social desire of brand affinity.
Creating a hop – Feeder Island for iPhone
The premium focussed android smartphone brands of OnePlus, Vivo and OPPO have created a hop for the smartphone users making their journey for owning their aspirational iPhone easy.  In India predominant smartphone purchases have been taking place in less than ₹20,000.  Over 90% of the smartphone sales would land within this range.  This meant for anyone aspiring to buy a smartphone, there was a big decision to be taken to spend more than 4 times of the present smartphone range to get the coveted iPhone ownership.