Every year, budget smartphones seem to become more advanced and feature-rich, and 2018 was no exception. Last year, we saw several mid-level and flagship trends percolate to the budget segment – we’re talking 18:9 displays, all manner of notches, face unlock, powerful cameras and large batteries, to name a few. 2019 has just begun, and this year, we expect the budget segment in India to continue to evolve. Keeping this in mind, we at Pricebaba conducted an online survey to find out what exactly our readers are looking for in affordable smartphones – from their favourite brands, to the aspects they value the most, to the features they want to see on future budget devices. With over 5,000 responses to the survey, we gained quite a few useful insights. Read on for all the details.
Before we get on with the results, here’s an interesting tidbit about Pricebaba’s audience – 67 percent of our readers have not only made smartphone purchase decisions for themselves, but have also recommended phones to 3 or more people, which goes to show they are quite well informed on the subject.
Current ownership pattern
We asked our readers which smartphone brand they’re currently using, and the results were a mix of the predictable and the unexpected. Xiaomi took the top spot with 21 percent of respondents claiming to use the brand’s devices, followed by Samsung with a 16 percent share. A surprise entry in the list was Realme, which despite being a new brand, was very popular with a 12 percent share. Realme even managed to oust Honor by a small margin, which came in at fourth place with 10 percent.
When it comes to affordable phones, the turnaround seems to be quite rapid, with nearly 35 percent of our readers saying they change their phone every year. This figure was higher than the percentage of readers who upgrade after two years (32 percent).
Most popular affordable smartphone brands
Brand perception is everything, and goes a long way into shaping purchase decisions. We asked our audience which brands they thought were the best for affordable smartphones. Xiaomi took the majority stake with 26 percent of votes on this one. The second spot – surprise, surprise – was Realme. The brand seems to have made quite an impact with budget smartphone users, gaining 19 percent of the votes. This was followed by Samsung and Honor, which were pretty much tied with around 14 percent of votes each.
Affordable phones users are looking forward to
We asked our readers which upcoming affordable phone they were most excited about, and an overwhelming majority (42 percent) went with the Redmi Note 7, which attracted eyeballs with its 48MP camera. Samsung’s M series, which hadn’t been launched at the time of conducting the survey, followed with 24 percent of respondents expressing interest in the devices. An unexpected entry in the list was the Realme 3, which grabbed 23 percent of the votes despite not having been announced yet. Similarly, there was a fair bit of interest (11 percent) in the Nokia 6.2, another device that’s yet to be launched.
What matters when buying an affordable phone
We wanted to ascertain the key features that users look for in an affordable phone, and 48 percent of respondents stated that a balanced, all round phone was paramount. Other important features include long battery life (23 percent), good rear cameras (11 percent) and a powerful selfie camera (10 percent). Attractive design seemed to be of least importance to budget buyers, with only 3.5 percent of respondents picking this as a valued criteria.
Most wanted features in affordable phones
No surprise here – buyers of affordable phones are increasingly expecting flagship features on their devices. 35 percent of respondents wanted a powerful rear camera, while 27 percent picked waterproofing. Under-display fingerprint scanners are becoming popular thanks to the likes of Vivo and OPPO, with 16 percent of respondents coveting this feature on affordable phones. Wireless charging and punch hole displays garnered a fair bit of interest too, with 14 percent and 8 percent of votes respectively.
Going by the results, it appears that the focus for affordable smartphones will be on brands like Xiaomi, Samsung, Realme and Honor this year. Whether 2019 brings sub-Rs 15,000 phones with punch hole displays and wireless charging remains to be seen, but one thing is clear – buyers of affordable smartphones expect the best from their devices, and brands will have to deliver.