This Is The Most Sought After Smartphone Brand For Aspirational Indians (No, It's Not Apple)

A new survey by CyberMedia Research suggests that Indians are quickly moving over their predilection for Apple

By Gajendra Puri Goswami

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If you ask an Indian which smartphone brand do they most prefer, their answer could range from anything between Mi to Apple, depending on their budget and utility. But, if you ask the same question without considering money as a bar then the answer might turn out to be different. CyberMedia Research, a forerunner of market research in South Asia, conducted a recent survey in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad to find out the most desired premium smartphone in India. Their findings revealed that OnePlus trumps other brands as the most sought-after smartphone brand in the country. Apple and Samsung emerged as the second and third most desired smartphone brands in India respectively.

Brand Matters

The research argues that while buying smartphones customers value a brand more than the specifications of its products. Therefore, a brand is more likely to succeed if it's credibility and values resonate with the audience, regardless of the competitiveness of its products. The survey findings of the research reported that while scouring for smartphones, 55 per cent look for brands that make them feel more powerful, 49 per cent are inclined to brands that they consider an extension of their lifestyle, and 30 per cent opt for a brand that makes them feel "like they have arrived."

Are Users Loyal To Their Preferred Brand?

Among smartphone brands, 36 per cent of the respondents had a predilection for OnePlus, 34 per cent preferred Apple, while 18 per cent trusted Samsung. The results also showcased that OnePlus is the supreme choice for young smartphone buyers as 59 per cent of respondents aged between 18 to 32 years chose OnePlus when asked about their dream smartphone. Although, OnePlus' popularity amongst older individuals significantly plummeted as only 15 per cent respondents aged above 40 favoured the smartphone above other brands.

CMR's survey also adjudicated the brand loyalty of smartphone buyers in India. The survey reported that while all premium brands enjoy significant brand loyalty amongst their customers in India, a small percentage of people are willing to switch their smartphone brand. The switch is more favourably inclined to OnePlus, which attracted 9 per cent, 15 per cent, and 16 per cent users from Apple, Oppo, and Vivo respectively. On the other hand, Apple emerged as a preferred choice of a switch for 6 per cent OnePlus users and 18 per cent Oppo users. 9 per cent of the users switching from Nokia to a different brand favoured Samsung. Among the customers who're willing to upgrade their smartphone to the above 50,000 price category, over 12 per cent are actively considering OnePlus.

What Do Customers Want?

The survey also reported that 89 per cent of the users look up to Apple as the industry leader. It is known amongst 78 per cent users for its innovation, while 77 per cent female users prefer the brand for its impeccable camera. Samsung was noted by 74 per cent users for its durability and 46 per cent users for its "high repeat-purchase value".

The survey alludes to the fact that smartphone upgrades are driving the market and 83 per cent of the surveyed individuals prefer upgrading their smartphone every one to two years. Yet, only a few customers are looking to change their existing brands. The most anticipated features that customer value in a brand is an in-screen fingerprint sensor, wireless charging and support for AR/VR.

The results of the survey are a testament to OnePlus' growing appeal as a smartphone brand in India. Its enduring brand salience may because of worry for perennial brands such as Samsung and Apple in the near future. OnePlus has significantly improved its brand perception and is now seen as a robust contender for companies like Apple who are eyeing to establish their hegemony in the local smartphone business.

Gajendra Puri Goswami

Features Writer

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