India Sees Jump in Online Purchase of Smartphones in 2021 Due to COVID-19: Counterpoint

COVID-19 gave a sharp turn to digitisation in India, says Counterpoint.

India Sees Jump in Online Purchase of Smartphones in 2021 Due to COVID-19: Counterpoint

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Consumers bought smartphones from affordable premium and premium segments

  • Reverse migration of workers fueled online purchases
  • Offers, choices, and pricing forced people to buy phones online
  • Consumers relied on YouTube, Influencers for information about phones

Over 50 percent of smartphones sold in India in 2021 were bought online compared to more than one-third last year, as per a report. This shift in purchasing trend is attributed to the extended presence of COVID-19, and high number of casualties during its second wave in 2021. The report also said that the consumers bought more smartphones (15 percent) belonging to affordable premium and premium segments (priced Rs. 30,000 and above) in 2021 as compared to last year (7 percent).

According to Counterpoint Research's Market Lens consumer survey, restrictions on movement during COVID-19 forced many offline consumers to purchase phones online. In 2020, 63 percent of consumers purchased smartphones from offline channels as compared to 37 percent in 2021. Last year, 47 percent bought their handsets from online channels as compared to 53 percent this year.

Additionally, “The reverse migration of knowledge workers from big cities to smaller cities and towns also played a key role in popularizing online channels,” the research firm said. Furthermore, special offers, variety of choices, and pricing are a few more reasons which compelled people to prefer online channels for smartphone purchase.

Interestingly, there was also a shift in the source of information on smartphones. Consumers relied more on YouTubers as well as influencers and not on word of mouth and friends/family to make a smartphone purchasing decision this year. Similarly, online reviews and articles were also overlooked in favour of comparison websites and TV ads while making smartphone purchasing decisions.

As mentioned, customers bought smartphones belonging to affordable premium and premium segments because they saved more due to work from home situation. “The smartphone has become an essential part of life with the rise in virtual connectivity. As a result, there is a movement in the market, with a significant portion of smartphone users looking to purchase their next smartphone from a higher price band,” the market research firm said.

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