Samsung and Xiaomi are popular smartphone brands in average the Indian household, and now a research report lends weight to that perception as well. According to a report titled, "India Android Smartphone Brand Perceptions and Characteristics", Xiaomi and Samsung are the top brands that are considered while buying a smartphone in India. Xiaomi, in particular, has been the most promising brand with high intent and consideration among Indian customers. OnePlus has also received an impressive consideration and purchase intent score despite a tiny installed base, the report notes.
The Strategy Analytics report states that Xiaomi is considered by users who have a strong interest in a 'trusted brand' and 'ease of use', while Samsung is considered by users who want a 'brand I love' and someone who 'understands my needs'. Furthermore, Chinese brands are well positioned to take advantage of the aggressive smartphone replacement cycle in India. The report notes that over 60 percent of Android owners intend to replace their device in the next 12 months. Legacy brand owners like Motorola, Micromax, and even Samsung are at a high risk, as there is a high percentage of their customers that are willing to churn. Even though Micromax has the highest local awareness score, it also unfortunately enjoys the highest customer base that is willing to churn. Motorola and Samsung have 31 and 30 percent customers respectively that are willing to churn, possibly looking to switch to Xiaomi or OnePlus depending on the budget.
While Chinese brands like Xiaomi and OnePlus are doing great in the Indian market, other global companies like LG, Sony, and Huawei are all struggling. The report states that their biggest challenge is to convert awareness into consideration with current offers and brand positioning. The report also states that the single most important feature for purchase decision among Indians was battery life, and not camera quality as most brands advertise.
David Kerr, VP at Strategy Analytics, said in the report, "Success in the volatile India market requires much more than good product. In a commodity smartphone market, brand positioning, personality and characteristics with appropriate marketing communications will largely define product success rather than features. A trusted brand with the latest technology at good value for money is the ideal. Secure, innovative and modern are also valued brand attributes... Device vendors are over focused on marketing around features like imaging when Battery (32 percent) is the single most important feature in the purchase decision for Android Smartphone buyers. Camera quality and camera features dominate vendor marketing but are most important for only 1 in 7 Android users."
Rajeev Nair, Senior Analyst, noted, "Most Android Smartphone users have high loyalty to their current brand but 1 in 3 are in play during replacement. The battle for replacement smartphone sales is intense with no local India vendor in the top six positions in Q1 2018."