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ON A SHOPPING SPREE

India’s premium smartphone users hold on to OnePlus handsets the longest, Samsung the least

Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

Aviation and social media reporter

Premium smartphone users in India are in a hurry to upgrade their devices.

An overwhelming majority (81%) of users replace their high-end smartphones before they are two years old, according to a recent survey by Counterpoint Research.

Among brands, Samsung customers tend to exchange their phones faster than average, while OnePlus users hold on the longest. “Almost six out of 10 Samsung users are interested in replacing their smartphones within the next year, and about four out of 10 users of OnePlus plan to buy a new smartphone in 12 months,” said Pavel Naiya, a senior analyst at the firm.

The market research firm surveyed 800 upper-mid and premium Android smartphone users in various Indian cities. Premium smartphones are priced above Rs20,000 ($280).

What buyers want?

The study showed that spending money on a swanky phone isn’t a problem for tech-obsessed Indians. Most premium buyers are willing to pay at least Rs40,000 for their devices. “One in five respondents is interested in spending more than Rs60,000. And around 8% of respondents indicated their interest in spending Rs80,000 or above on the smartphones,” the report said.

But it isn’t innovative features that grip buyers’ attention. A majority of respondents surveyed indicated that dust and water resistance are the most important features in a smartphone.

“The existence of multiple brands across segments has made the smartphone market one of the fastest expanding ones in India. The increase in penetration has resulted in a rise in consumer expectations from smartphones,” a Huawei spokesperson told Quartz.

Who rules the market?

While South Korea’s Samsung and China’s OnePlus are the dominant players in the premium segment, US-based Apple’s iPhone handsets are struggling, according to Counterpoint.

Chinese brands like Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo are also trying to enter the segment.

“The reason behind OnePlus’ growth is its online marketing strategy. These strategies are quite similar to what Xiaomi did in India. Digital marketing creates a loyal base of customers, leading to a spike in online bookings. This is why Samsung is slowly, but steadily, shifting its business strategies to the online space,” said Shaad Rahman, chief executive officer of Delhi-based smartphone repair startup Phixman.

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