Indian Smartphone Market: Chinese Brands Benefit in Short Term, Apple Gains in The Long Term

by Habeeb Onawole 2

A survey carried out by Counterpoint Research revealed that two out of three mobile phone users in India plans to change their phone in the next one year. The desire to upgrade to a new smartphone stems from wanting a device with 4G capabilities. The survey also revealed that one in every three persons wants a smartphone with a fingerprint scanner and a better front facing camera.


A research director at the firm, Neil Shah says that Chinese brands that offer phones which meet these standards in the sub-$200 category will benefit. However, bigger brands like Apple will have to wait a bit longer before they can benefit, probably post-2018. The reason is because by then, the user base would have matured, 4G network will be everywhere and people will want to upgrade to a better device.

“In the longer term you will have a bigger user base who will want to upgrade to a better phone. Apple will benefit post-2018 with a maturing user base and the 4G network will be available everywhere. People will be using more services. In the next two years it would be a good idea for Apple to roll out their retail footprint and invest in manufacturing.”

Apple CEO,Tim Cook said earlier this year that the company had an “all-time record revenue results” in India last year. The American company is planning to have an assembly plant in India which should help reduce the cost of their devices. The cheapest iPhone at the moment is the iPhone SE and it sells for Rs 27,000 ($420.50). That is higher than the cost of the Xiaomi Mi 5 which sells for Rs 22,999.

READ MORE: New Xiaomi Factory in India Makes One Phone Per Second

A recent report by Strategy Analytics says Xiaomi is the most preferred brand in India. The survey also revealed that half of the smartphone users in the country prefer purchasing phones priced between Rs 10,000 ($155) and Rs 20,000 ($308). Let’s see if Apple will indeed change the stats after 2018.