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A Look at the Homegrown Brands in the Ever Changing Smartphone Industry in India The most voluminous Indian handset market has kept the millennials gripped ever since its onset!

By Bhavya Kaushal

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Whenever an Indian switches on the television, advertisements of mobile brands pop up in uncountable numbers. All the A-list celebrities are minting money out of mobile brand endorsements. It is then, not wrong, to say, that India is in the top of the Smartphone game.

The Great Indian Smartphone Game

India is fascinated with mobile phones ever since they entered the Indian market in the mid-1990s. Even though the foreign shores were responsible for introducing mobile phones to Indian consumers, the latter took the baton in its hand and today, the Smartphone market is spearheading the Indian subcontinent. According to IBEF, 30 million Smartphones are purchased in India every quarter. This is not all. According to IDC and the Ericsson Mobility Report released in July this year, mobile subscriptions are expected to rise to 1.4 billion by 2021. In fact, during the Amazon Great Indian Festival sale, One Plus is said to have done 400 crore business in just 36 hours!

India being one of the fastest growing Smartphone markets, however, is not just relying on the overseas manufactured handsets. The last few years have seen the drastic emergence and success of many homegrown brands. Moreover, the mobile market has been seen considerable growth and the scenario seems positive as there is adequate space for many more to make their place in this ever-changing yet ever growing business.

Some Foreign Influence and Some Indian

While Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo, Vivo are currently the top players in the market, it is important to look at achievements of the Indian companies in the sector who have shown great prowess in the mobile manufacturing strata despite obstacles. India is still a developing country and the economy over the years has undergone numerous transformations. The Indian market is very multifaceted with huge income divide, the scale is always weighing heavier towards the middle-class category. Weathering the economic storms associated with a developing nation, are the victorious homegrown brands-Micromax, Lava and Karbonn.

A Story within a Story

So what makes these Indian brands blossom amidst a pool of competion?

Shashin Devsare, Executive Director of Karbonn Mobiles, elucidates, "We always endeavoured to create a value proposition for our customers. In our effort to achieve the same, we have created one of the largest pool of VAS partners. We also pioneered in developing an Indian language Smartphone ecosystem, thereby co-creating a simple yet relevant smart telephone experience for the regional audience."

What does a contemporary Indian audience expect from a Smartphone? Some cutting-edge features, solid-built, sustainability, dual SIM, touch screen and most essential, is affordability since India's population is largely characterized by middle-class incomes. Devsare also believes that after good sales service also contribute to making the brand consumer-centric. "After sales service plays an important role in customer satisfaction and customer retention. It helps in creating loyal customers and increase brand value."

The Rural Divide

Despite Smartphones having such an expansive reach in India, the rural is yet to experience it or fully embody it. Sudhir Kumar, CEO of Tambo mobiles recognizes this gap. He owes this void largely to lack of awareness and absence of user-friendly devices. For international brands, this divide might be a little difficult to combat but the homegrown companies are focused on penetrating through this predicament and uplift the economy. Kumar says, "Being a homegrown brand, Tambo understands the market and the needs of its consumers. We have observed that the target audience is unlikely to buy the products online due to the limited access to e-commerce platforms in the untapped markets." Tambo has adopted an offline retail strategy for distribution in order to tap into the unventured avenues.

Pradipto Ganguly, Co-founder and CEO of an upcoming mobile brand, Britzo too stresses on this void, "Mostly it is the rural area, where there is no communication; most of the peripheral villages in our country do not have road connectivity." Ganguly says that as a homegrown brand, their cornerstone lies in local adaptation because their target consumer base includes the weaker sections of the society.

The Way Forward

With so much happening, it is evident that the Indian mobile market is extremely lucrative. Devsare is optimistic about the future. He believes that the strength of more brands emerging lies in the production of feature phones. "This invites a lot of brands to run for the market share in Indian market."

The Indian mobile market has expanded and succeeded wondrously but there is a long road ahead, perhaps, with bulky challenges and loftier goals to achieve!

Bhavya Kaushal

Former Features Writer

I am a work-in-progress writer and human being. An English graduate from Delhi University, writing is my passion and currently, I was Entrepreneur India's start-up reporter. I love covering start-ups and weaving their stories into unforgettable tales with the power of ink! 
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