India, as a country, is undoubtedly at the realm of digitization and steadily becoming one of fastest growing digital economies. The tremendous pace of digitization speaks volumes about the increasing smartphone and internet penetration in India and is a clear indicator of how Indians are accepting technology as a way of life.
People from the metros, today, live in a world where they wake up to the screen of their smartphones and curl up in their blankets for that one last errand of ordering groceries, peaking at the social handles or checking their emails. This is marking the commencement of true digitization. Having said that, with 67% of the Indians living in rural areas, it is equally paramount that the regional India also onboards the singular digital platform and weaves the thread of what we call ‘Digital India’!
According to a report by Kantar IMRB ICUBE, there are 200 million active internet users in Rural India out of the 493 million internet base in India. The report also mentions that ‘increased availability of bandwidth, cheap data plans and increased awareness driven by government programmes seem to have rapidly bridged the digital gap between urban and rural India.
Enabling a progressive development indeed, the internet is truly empowering the rural regions to come forward and be a part of the ever-evolving process of digitization! This is suggestive of the immense potential in rural India and how smartphone manufacturers like us are tapping onto this large-scale opportunity by providing customized features to the consumers, specific to their needs.
India as a region has multiple markets within itself. Each market has different mobile consumption habits - within urban and rural demographics. It is possible that a 25-year-old Delhi-ite might look to buy the latest technology smartphone (priced at 30K) supported through the best selfie camera for her Instagram feed. However, a 25-year-old guard in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh might look at purchasing a similar camera phone packed with big battery and optimized technology at a budget friendly price. This kind of personalization paves way for different needs and demands in the market and smartphone manufacturers like us come through to fulfil them. We as smartphone companies can support India in achieving their goalpost by manufacturing quality smartphones equipped with futuristic technology at affordable price points.
While the definition of a budget smartphone varies across regions and demographics, the low-income group of consumers still consider the sub 5k category as the budget-segment. In this group of consumers, there will be a Mukesh from a mofussil who might have just joined college in a nearby town and needs to have a smartphone for a better lifestyle, there will be a Ram who likes to take a peek at the breaking news of the hour, sitting at his Kirana store on a less-busy afternoon and there will also be a Pinky who likes to binge-watch Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain on her smartphone post her everyday household chores. In all of the three cases, the lookout of the consumer is a low-to-mid-end smartphone which lets them have a good first smartphone experience or altogether helps them switch from a feature phone to a smartphone. For an entry level smartphone user, every purchase matters and they look value for money in each product. Besides futuristic features at pocket friendly price, consumers also look for a brand that provides first class service proposition with widespread service network that helps them to build a long term relationship with the brand.
Alongside, features like full screen display and AI camera are like cherries on the cake for entry level smartphones, thereby delivering magic like technology for the rural India. - technology that glides seamlessly into their lifestyles, technology that is customized basis their needs, technology that they can be ready to absorb at the convenience of affordability.
All of these factors will lead to increased digital inclusion thereby decreasing the digital divide and contributing to the digital economy of India.
The author is the CEO of TRANSSION India.