Globally, the smartphone market is in turmoil. Smartphone shipments worldwide have dropped for seven consecutive quarters now, and there’s little evidence that a rebound is in sight. India, however, has been something of an anomaly. Not only has it remained a rare bright spot—the second quarter of 2019 saw record smartphone shipments—but it’s seeing growth in the unlikeliest of areas: the premium segment.
India’s premium smartphone segment—devices priced above Rs 30,000—grew 33% in the second quarter of 2019, according to smartphone market research firm Counterpoint Research. This is unusual not just because of the global smartphone or even general economic slowdown, but because India is a country that unabashedly prefers budget offerings—smartphones priced between Rs 5,000-15,000.
Millions of Indian smartphone users are primed to go premium
Except for OnePlus though, few others are prepared for it. Apple is still too expensive. Samsung and Xiaomi too mass-market. Oppo and Vivo are testing the waters
Long considered a mass-market ocean, India's premium smartphone segment grew 33% last quarter
A massive cohort of budget, entry-level smartphone users are graduating to more expensive phones, pushing ASPs to $190-200
But Apple is still locked outside the Rs 25,000-40,000 sweet spot. Its premium market share has fallen from 47% in 2017 to just 21% today
Samsung, meanwhile, has spread its brand too thin across price points. Chinese sister brands Oppo and Vivo are toying with premium phones. OnePlus is best poised