Riding on the wave of mobile internet revolution and e-commerce boom in recent years, India is witnessing an exponential growth in the smartphone category across geographies. With deeper penetration of telecom services both at the urban and grassroot levels, the market has spurred a lot of smartphone brands to cater to the price-sensitive Indian consumer with affordable devices.
91mobiles.com has analysed the research habits of consumers on its platform to draw up insights on how Indians bought smartphones in 2018. With 25 million monthly visitors, averaging more than 800,000 people daily who visit the platform to decide which phone to buy, 91mobiles has seen that Xiaomi is the most popular brand in terms of search volumes, followed by Samsung and OPPO.
Here are some of the key insights pertaining to 2018, drawn from the consumer research behaviour on 91mobiles:
- Of the top 10 smartphone brands, Xiaomi tops the list with over 25% users searching for its devices on 91mobiles in 2018. The next on the list is Samsung with a share of 17%, followed by OPPO with a share of almost 12% and Vivo with 11%. Honor, Realme and Nokia are tied at 8% each.
- As far as the most popular smartphones based on number of user searches are concerned, Xiaomi’s Mi A2 and Redmi Note 5 Pro topped the list, but the surprise entry came in at number three in the form of the Realme 2 Pro. The Xiaomi Redmi 6 Pro and the Redmi Note 5 were also quite popular, seated at the fourth and fifth spots respectively.
- About 30% searches were made for affordable smartphones, as many tended to gravitate towards devices priced below Rs 10k. However, the mid-budget segment saw the highest volumes, with over 50% searches going in favour of handsets priced between Rs 10k-20k. About 11% users searched for smartphones priced between Rs 20k and Rs 30k, while over 9% searched for premium devices priced upwards of Rs 30k.
- Breaking up the data on user searches on smartphones by quarter, it’s evident that the sub-Rs 10k price segment saw a steady decline, starting from 34% in Q1 to 23% in Q4. The price bands (above Rs 20k) remained stable for the most part, but the number of user searches on smartphones in the Rs 10k to Rs 20k segment witnessed significant growth across quarters, jumping from 49% in Q1 to 57% in Q4.
- In terms of features, RAM size, display attributes (size and resolution) and battery capacity were the most searched aspects in 2018. Searches around RAM accounted for almost 22% of the total number of user searches on 91mobiles, and both display (18%) and battery (18%) also turned out to be crucial parameters for users looking to buy a new smartphone.
- 91mobiles’ site data also revealed that folks looking to buy a premium smartphone made about 4.5 searches per user on an average by product name, versus 0.5 searches done by buyers in the affordable segment… a difference of 9x. This is because premium phones usually have higher name recall, as compared to smartphones in the budget and mid-range segments. On the other hand, users looking for affordable devices chose to search by price or feature, making 12 searches per users on an average using this method. In comparison, those looking for premium smartphones searched 8 times on an average using price or features as a parameter.
- The average time taken by potential buyers of affordable smartphone to make up their minds was 2.5 weeks, while those in the market for premium smartphones took about 4.5 weeks to zero in on a specific device. Buyers in the affordable segment clicked out to an eCommerce store 3.5 times on an average, with the same number being 5 times for buyers of premium phones. However, buyers of affordable phones who did click out to an eCommerce store were 3 times more likely to purchase online, as compared to those searching for premium smartphones. The latter seemed to prefer the ‘research online, buy offline’ technique more in comparison.
“As features like multiple cameras, in-screen fingerprint scanners and punch-hole displays become more commonplace in mid-range devices, consumers would increasingly look for more points of differentiation in their next smartphone purchase. 91mobiles is uniquely positioned to capture and analyse user behaviour, and our data indicates that 2019 could mark an inflection point for the features and capability one can expect from smartphones across price bands.” said Nitin Mathur, Co-founder of 91mobiles.com.
With four minutes average time spent per visitor on the platform, 91mobiles.com has driven USD 100 million plus in sales (in 2018) through various e-commerce stores from people who researched their purchases on 91mobiles site.