Here’s why Indian smartphone users are quick to switch their devices

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  • A report by CyberMedia Research (CMR) shows that 70% of smartphone users in India have switched brands over the span of three months in Q2 2018.
  • The trend reflects the effects of upgrade cycles getting shorter.
  • This also points to the fact that the smartphone industry in India is increasingly becoming market-driven instead of being technology-driven.
Upgrade cycles have gotten shorter and consumer stickiness is on the decline with 70% of smartphone users in India switching their brands in Q2 2018 according to CyberMedia Research’s (CMR) latest report.

They surveyed over 200 million users in the country to ascertain the state of the replacement market in India. Their findings showed that Xiaomi had the most to gain by providing the largest percentage (37%) of the smartphones that were replaced.

In the conversation of whether the Indian consumer market for smartphones is market driven or technology driven, the current state seems to support the former hypothesis.

Trend explained

While it could be said that users’ attention spans and stickiness have depleted over the years, a part of the conditioning has been smartphone manufactures releasing upgrades in shorter and shorter cycles.

Regardless of whether it’s a new design feature or an under-the-hood upgrade, each company is trying to stay ahead of the curve. It seems that it doesn't matter if an upgraded phone has a ‘substantial’ technological enhancement or not.

That kind of marketing model has led to the prevalence of the demonstration effect in India, where rather than the technological upgrade, it’s about having the latest device available in the market. And rather than addressing particular ‘needs’, users want to have a smartphone just because others are sporting the same device.

The OnePlus upgrade cycle has been an issue for a while. The flagship device, OnePlus 6, only came out in May and apparently the company is already set to launch the OnePlus 6T in the near future. That’s even less than 6 months apart.

Winner and losers


While Xiaomi led the pack of winners, Vivo added 17.8% to amount of the new devices in the market with Oppo’s contribution at 16.3% and Itel with 6.7%.

Meanwhile, Micromax was the biggest loser with a 41.2% decline of its devices in the market. Intex lost out on 11.6% of the market followed by HTC at 5.5% and Karbonn with 5.3%.

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