With India in the grip of a broad-spectrum economic slowdown, the world’s second-largest smartphone market hasn’t had it easy over the past few months.
But, thanks to the festive season when consumers typically splurge rather than just spend, industry observers believe the tide has turned already bringing relief to retailers.
Brands across the board, including Samsung, Apple, Panasonic, Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi, OnePlus and home-bred leaders including Micromax, Lava and Intex, have charted out big bang launches, zero interest EMI and zero down-payment schemes, data bundling offers with carriers and other freebies along with huge discounts to rev up sales, more so this time given higher competition and slowing smartphone market compared to last year.
This led to a sharp increase in the sale of smartphones in the on-going festive season sales of e-commerce giants —Amazon and Flipkart.
According to Amazon, smartphones was the second-largest category that attracted new customers and that premium smartphone brands like OnePlus, Samsung, and Apple made record sales worth about Rs 750 crores in just 36 hours.
“Our affordability programmes such as no-cost EMI, exchange, instant bank discounts and more, continue to enable record number of customers to upgrade to premium phones this festive season,” said Manish Tiwary, Vice President - Category Management, Amazon India.
Chinese smartphone OnePlus said it has clocked Rs 500 crore in revenue in just two days of the Amazon Great Indian Festival sale, with its latest offering OnePlus 7T registering the highest-ever sales in the premium smartphone, while budget smartphone maker Xiaomi said that it has achieved a record breaking sale of over 1.5 million devices on Mi.com, Flipkart and Amazon in the first few hours of sale.
“The festive season of Dussehra/Diwali has always been the biggest shopping season for customers. This year we launched several new Mi TVs, Redmi 8A and attractive offers on Redmi Note 7 series, Redmi 7, Redmi 7A etc.
Our festive sales have kicked off to an amazing start,” said Raghu Reddy, head of categories and online sales, Xiaomi India.
Market research firm RedSeer Consulting estimates mobile phones to rake in $1.8 billion worth of sales in the ongoing festive season sale period.
E-tailers are also expected to see gross sales worth $3.7 billion during the six-day sale — a growth of about 60-65 per cent year on year, it added.
Kalyan Krishnamurthy, CEO, Flipkart said, “consumers from tier-2 and tier-3 cities are upgrading and they are coming at par with the metros showcasing unique needs and spending patterns across categories.” The share of consumers picking premium smartphones increased by a whopping 97 per cent, contributing to overall growth of 2X in this segment, he added.
Small towns driving biz
Tier-II and tier-III cities are driving big business for e-commerce firms — Flipkart and Amazon — for this festival season.
According to Flipkart, electronics category witnessed growth of over 70 per cent from tier-II cities, with a 100 per cent increase in women shoppers from smaller towns, while Amazon said as many as 91 per cent of new customers were from Tier 2, Tier 3 and beyond.
For the day that was exclusive to Prime subscribers, Amazon saw the largest ever number of Prime subscription sign-ups in a single day, and 66% of these shoppers came from Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns