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Indian Smartphone Market May See Slower Growth In 2016

February 10, 2016 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

Even as smartphone sales in the US and China show signs of a gradual slowdown, the Indian smartphone market is registering high double-digit growth every year. According to a recent report from Counterpoint research, smartphone sales in the country increased by as much as 23.3 percent last year, making India the third country after the US and China to cross the 100 million mark in a single calendar year. With a whole host of new companies rushing in to set up factories in the country, India is seeing a smartphone gold rush like China was less than a decade ago. India’s Telecom Secretary recently announced that the country’s yearly smartphone production is slated to hit the 500 million mark in just two years’ time.

However, management consulting services company, Accenture, has now released a report on the state of the Indian smartphone market that may well pour some cold water on the enthusiasm of companies rushing to the country in search of greener pastures. The company recently conducted an extensive survey of 28,000 people in 28 countries worldwide, including major economies like the US, the UK, Japan, China, Germany, Brazil and India. The results of the survey, titled ‘Igniting Growth in Consumer Technology’, seem to indicate that only 48 percent of consumers worldwide plan to purchase a smartphone over the next twelve months. Back in 2014, when the last such survey was carried out by the company, 54 percent of those polled had conveyed their intentions of buying a smartphone that year.

Alarmingly for smartphone manufacturers, the largest drops came from some of the largest and fastest-growing smartphone markets, including China and India. Only 61 percent of respondents in the People’s Republic said that they’re likely to buy a smartphone this year, as opposed to 82 percent a couple years ago. Meanwhile, the Indian numbers, too, seemed to have gone down significantly, with only 68 percent of those polled, saying that they’re planning to buy a new smartphone within the next twelve months, compared to 80 percent in 2014. The numbers in more mature markets like the US and the UK remain absolutely unchanged at 38 and 37 percent respectively. As for India, over eight in ten surveyed said that they already own a smartphone, while in China, the number’s even higher, at 89 percent.

With the market reaching saturation point, manufacturers would need a wow-factor to get consumers enthused about spending money on a new handset, but that’s exactly what’s lacking in the market right now, as per the results of the survey. 47 percent of the people who’re not planning to buy a new device right now, say that they’re satisfied with their current devices, with 26 percent saying that they’ve just bought a new device. While 14 percent say that they cannot afford a smartphone, 4 percent say that they are not impressed because of the lack of innovative new features. IoT devices are also failing to catch on, as pricing, privacy concerns and complexity are preventing such devices from becoming more common. Meanwhile, smartwatches and fitness trackers continue to remain niche product categories, with only 13 and 11 percent respondents respectively, expressing their interest in buying such devices in 2016.