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Indian offline retail crucial for smartphone sales, says IDC

Indian offline retail crucial for smartphone sales, says IDC

Indian smartphone consumers still favour ‘offline’ retail outlets over online purchasing, according to new research by IDC.

Up to 70% of India’s smartphone users prefer the ability to “touch and feel” offered by a traditional retail outlet compared to the convenience of an online store. IDC noted that while in many markets vendors place the greatest emphasis on their online channels, “to address the needs of a diverse Indian consumer base, offline must go hand in hand with the online channel.”

Vendors such as China’s Oppo and Gionee are taking note of this, boosting investment to build awareness of their brands in India’s smaller towns and cities. This market is increasingly crucial in India, with demand being driven by these areas as the smartphone market in top-tier cities becomes more saturated. The research also noted that 40% of consumers based their brand preferences on in-store advice and promotions.

However, IDC did note that exclusively online channels remain “very competitive”, with smart devices accounting for a notable percentage of ecommerce sales. Major online players such as Amazon and Flipkart have been investing heavily into forging exclusive vendor partnerships, streamlining customer experience and driving down delivery time – all of which “clearly show that online players are making serious efforts to gain consumer trust”, according to IDC.

The research firm also observed that prominent vendors such as Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo were dedicating the most “high decibel marketing and promotions” to their $100-$200 device bracket. The increasing presence of 4G connectivity in India is “compelling customers across city tiers to be future ready” by opting for 4G over 3G smartphones. 

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