Apple, Samsung Not To Benefit From Projected Shift In Indian Smartphone Market

In what is a trend that is positive for premium electronics giants like Apple and Samsung in the long-term, the Counterpoint Research said that driven by consumers wanting 4G handsets, most of India’s mobile phone users are planning to upgrade to a new device in the next 12 months.

Counterpoint said that in their survey planning to upgrade their mobile phones within the next year are two in three of the over 1,500 Indian mobile users who were surveyed. The analyst firm concluded that this is a shortening of the average 24 to 30-month upgrade cycle.

And driving the trend are Indian mobile users’ desire for 4G capable phones with more advanced features. phones with a fingerprint sensor and a better front-facing selfie camera are being considered by one in three respondents.

Both Apple and Samsung offer premium handsets at a high price and this trend is positive in the long-term for them. But in India, a country seen as a driver of growth in a slowing smartphone market, neither will see any boost in the near-term.

“All the brands who are successful in sub-$200 segment like Lenovo, Xiaomi and a handful of Indian brands will benefit,” Neil Shah, research director of devices and ecosystems at Counterpoint Research, said in an interview.

“In the longer term you will have a bigger user base who will want to upgrade to a better phone. Apple will benefit post-2018 with a maturing user base and the 4G network will be available everywhere. People will be using more services. In the next two years it would be a good idea for Apple to roll out their retail footprint and invest in manufacturing.”

27,000 rupees ($420.50) is the retail price in India of Apple’s cheapest smartphone model which is the iPhone SE. the most popular in India currently are the sub-$200 phones. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has revealed earlier this year that Apple had “all-time record revenue results” in the country in 2016 and has continuously talked up the potential of the Indian market. Given its cooling sales in China, Apple is keen to expand and do well in India.

Cook has met with officials from the Indian government during his visit to the country earlier in 2016. In a move which could bring the cost of the iPhones device down in India, Apple has set up a partnership with Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron which is set to soon start assembling iPhones in the country. Samsung at the same time has a number of lower cost devices that could appeal in India but has been struggling in the market for the past few years. But for its higher priced Galaxy S8 smartphone which was recently released, it will also be hoping to find new consumers in the country.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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