Premium mobile phones turn hot sellers in small cities


Mobile phone retailers in the tier-2 and 3 towns and cities across India are seeing record demand for high-end phones, or those priced above ₹40,000, including the newly launched Samsung flip phone and Apple‘s iPhone 13 series.

Analysts have pegged that demand at 50% more than 2019 (pre-pandemic) and is backed by increasing brand awareness, zero EMI, pent-up demands post-Covid and a desire for phones with larger displays.

Analytics firm PredictiVu says the split in the ₹40,000 and above category between metros and non-metros is 80:20, which will be narrowed by the year end to 65:35. This gap would have closed further had the smartphone industry not faced component shortages that derailed supply of phones across segments and launches, especially in smaller cities.

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“I am getting consumers from Valsad, Mehsana, Vapi, Anand and Kalol asking for Apple 13, Samsung’s flip phone. Enquiries have also come in for ‘s upcoming launches in the higher ranges,” said retailer Nikunj P Patel, who owns 45 stores under his retail chain Fonebook in Gujarat and has already seen a 15% growth in this segment. Patel’s case is not an anomaly as similar growth has been seen in smaller cities of states like Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, market experts said.

“There is a 50% increase in demand (in smaller towns and cities) for the premium and mid-premium segment compared to 2019, which is unprecedented,” said Navkendar Singh, research director at IDC, a market research firm. “The launches are fewer now and there is disposable income, which in turn, is pushing the demand”.

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