The whole question starts with why you have to pay Rs 60,000 for a smartphone with the latest features when the budget phone category introduces the same features for less than Rs 15,000. The sales of budget smartphones in India are indeed taking a hard hit with tech goliaths such as Samsung, Sony, Google Pixel, HTC and even Apple in the fray.
Smartphones introduced in India by young Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Lenovo (who owns Motorola now) Vivo, Oppo and Huawei have become the first option for smartphone addicts when given a choice between premium high-end phones and budget phones with compelling features that fall within Rs 15,000 category.
India witnessed a vigorous growth in the smartphone industry in the year 2017, a healthy 14% growth, accounting for 124 million units in 2017 making it the fastest growing market among the top 20 smartphone markets globally, according to International Data Corporation’s quarterly report.
The Chinese modest brand Xiaomi won the tug of war with Samsung in the market share area with a share of 26.8%, the largest market share for a smartphone brand in India when Xiaomi expanded their sales to the offline markets too, according to Upasana Joshi, Senior Marketing Manager, IDC India.
The Chinese smartphone brands, with mere budget phones, are taking their fight to premium high-end brands including Samsung, LG, HTC and Sony.
A comparison between budget phones and premium brands
When you compare Xiaomi Note 5 pro with Samsung S8, both phones from the opposite end of the price range section, they are almost on the same lines in the features offered and specifications category. While both come with an octa core processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage, despite the camera of S8 being better than Mi Note 5 pro, the comparison in specifications is almost brought down to the same level with Xiaomi providing a better battery life of 4000mah when compared to that of 3000mah of S8.
The comparison might seem a bit offbeat but “phone geeks tend to buy the latest model budget smartphone, use it for a period of six months and then upgrade to the cutting-edge model in the market rather than going for a deluxe brand with all your savings and treasuring it for years with scratches on it edges when the gadget industry is coming up with latest trends every hour” says Riyas who owns phone gallery, a retail mobile shop.
“People who are from a upper middle class background and who are enthusiastic about the changing trends in smartphones are definitely aiming at Motorola, Mi, Vivo instead of going for Apple, pixel or Sony. And they tend to change it more than twice a year making sure they get the latest updates” he added.
When you make another comparison between the high-end Google pixel 2 XL and mid-range Motorola Moto G5 plus, the major question there is if there is much of a difference between both the smartphones. And the answer is ‘No’. NDTV gadgets rates both the phones on the same score of ‘8’ with the features and specifications offered by both being almost the same. The only difference being Pixel having a cutting-edge camera and being owned by Google, which also gives easy access to android updates.
Now, the same question pops up: Is it worth paying an enormous amount for premium brands when there are similar phones available in the budget category if you are willing to look.