Will feature phones vanish from the Indian market?
The Indian government banned the 500 & 1000 currency notes without any prior notice, only to fight corruption. This decision is backed up by the citizens of India. People are standing in long queues, waiting for long hours to withdraw and deposit the new and old currency. Businesses are cold, and markets can't get slower than this. The demonetization has made a massive impact on the Indian market.
After everything ends, these will be some of the major areas which are going to witness a spike in their sales and adoption.
Smartphones are right on top as a category, with experts unanimous that sales and adoption is set to spike in 2017.
Even if barely, IDC's mobile phone shipments report for 3rd Quarter (Q3), recently confirmed the obvious trend towards the ascent of smartphones over feature phones.
In fact, with almost all the noise in the market around smartphones, you could be forgiven for being unaware of the fact that feature phones are still outselling them.
We at WittyFeed believe that starting with the Q4 shipment numbers; the trend will finally shift for good.
In fact, all the signs point to 2017 as the breakout year for smartphones, on the back of multiple factors.
Finally, we will have capable, quality handsets at a price point where feature phones will concede defeat.
In fact, we will go one step further. The features you get on smartphones priced Rs 5,000 or lower, considering the bare essentials that ensure a smartphone is capable of most important transactions and activities will probably become available by Q2 2017 at a price point of Rs 3,000 or less. Having these features at this price, users will be able to get the full benefits.
In the 2012 UP elections, one of the most popular election promises of the Samajwadi Party was its free laptop policy for undergraduates. As it turned out, the laptop distribution did happen, and in its small way, arguably made an impact too.
With the Rs 3,000 smartphones, the sheer number and possible impact could be massive, as it would spread over a larger population, and could even include free data usage in the deal. The Samajwadi Party has already hinted at this, expect more parties across India to latch on even as 2017 hosts various state elections.
Here Indian manufacturers will finally be able to put up a stand against the Chinese onslaught, as Chinese firms who do not make in India are likely to stay off from this category due to logistical costs.
The current experience will have sensitized people like nothing before, to the value and advantages of digital payments. With the government actively working to lower transaction costs and to make the process simpler, the signs are already there that digital users, as opposed to people exposed to digital will easily double by the end of 2017.
No prizes for guessing what will be their device of choice for doing it. Smartphones.
It's wider and younger! The Jio effect is yet to play out fully, even as we write this. Expect Reliance Jio to make a renewed push to spread, and lock in usage with offers in 2017, a battle that will be joined in earnest by Airtel and Vodafone at least among the incumbents. The war chests are ready; the ammunition has been kept dry. Count on it, it will all come into play in the form of more offers, subsidized handsets and more to drive growth.
Overall, the smartphone market is going to witness a huge boom in 2017, with the year likely to go down as a watershed year. Not only will it reduce feature phones to a minority, but hopefully, it will also lead the push to make digital India a reality to a truly large part of our population.