Analysis company PredictiVu indicates that the breakdown in the Rs 40,000 and over category between metros and non-metros is 80:20, which will be reduced by the end of the year to 65:35. This gap would have narrowed further if the smartphone industry had not faced component shortages that have derailed the supply of phones in all segments and launches, especially in small towns.
“I get consumers from Valsad, Mehsana, Vapi, Anand and Kalol asking for Apple 13, Samsung’s flip phone. Inquiries have also been received for Vivo’s upcoming top-line launches, ”said retailer Nikunj P Patel, which owns 45 stores under its Fonebook retail chain in Gujarat and has already seen growth of 15 % in this segment.
Patel’s case is not an anomaly, as similar growth has been seen in smaller towns in states like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, officials said. market experts.
“There is a 50% increase in demand (in small towns) for the premium and mid-premium segment compared to 2019, which is unprecedented,” said Navkendar Singh, research director at IDC, a market research firm. “Launches are less now and there is disposable income which, in turn, is pushing demand.”
Customers in places like Kota and Udaipur in Rajasthan spend between $ 300 and $ 400 for a phone, he added.
Retailers told ET that zero EMI was a game-changer that led many people to buy an expensive phone rather than go for those in the lower segments. Then, with the pandemic, came working from home, which included those who had to run their businesses from their phones and online education. A need for phones with bigger screens, better battery, and more app options has been cemented.
“Small towns had tiny bounty and semi-bounty markets. But that has changed in the last year or so. There is an increase in brand awareness, and that has led to a surge, ”said India Cellular Electronics Association (ICEA) President Pankaj Mohindroo. “In addition, more expensive phones during the pandemic have become a need as their battery life, durability, multiple application options, screen dimensions are used.”
Kunal Sarkar, vice president of PredictiVu, however, warned that the key to growing demand in small towns will come from consumers preferring to go to exclusive stores rather than multi-brand outlets. “In small towns, these exclusive outlets are not there, and retailers prefer to keep an inventory of 100 phones worth Rs 10,000 versus 10 phones worth Rs a lakh,” he said. -he adds.
He saw the growth come from Surat (Gujarat) and Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) among others.