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More than 502 million Indians owned at least one smartphone, as of December 2019, according to a techINSIGHT report. Considered to be a luxury some time back, smartphones have become more accessible, with a basic Android smartphone costing less than Rs 2,500. Affordability has caused a 15% peak in the sales of smartphones, since 2018.     

It’s brands like RealMe, Xiaomi, and Oppo that are adding more smartphone owners to the pool. Most of these are Chinese smartphones that are able to provide premium features for a cheaper price, says  the detailed report shared by research firm techARC. The research also suggested 77% of the Indian population to be online through smartphone.  

Despite the low prices of Xiaomi and its ilk, Indians prefer Samsung due its software stability, better build, and brand value. It presided over the smartphone-installed base with 34% of Indians owning Samsung smartphones in 2019. For Xiaomi, that ratio is 20%. 

Faisal Kawoosa, the Founder and Chief Analyst of techARC explains , “After a slow migration rate from feature phones to smartphones for a couple of years, it’s good to see that the market has started to expand again.” 

He adds, “Factors like availability of good-quality affordable smartphones, expansion of online as well as offline channels, expansion of 4G/LTE networks by the operators are among the key reasons driving the smartphone user growth.” 

There are several challenges that may impede the growth of smartphone ownership in India. The latest is the threat of Coronavirus, which is minimizing the volume of smartphone exports from China. 

There had been cases of home-bred mobile companies promising to provide smartphones on a price tag lesser than Rs 500. Most of them turned out to be failed kickstarters. To help the less-affluent own a smartphone, we need legitimate smartphone developers who can come up with a palm-top that costs less than Rs 1,000. 

The number of smartphones owned by Indians is an indicator that people are eventually opening up to communication. But the number should not include too many broken or dead cellphones lying in the cupboard. Instead of tossing it into the bottom of the chest, get your phone repaired.

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