Handset manufacturers offer finance, exchange and discount schemes

Buying a high-end smartphone has never been so easy. With handset manufacturers offering finance, exchange and discount schemes to make phones affordable, the sale of high-end smartphones has sky-rocketed in the past few months. While Apple has witnessed four-fold jump in the sale of iPhones, Samsung has more than doubled the sale of its finance-linked high-end phones. Other makers too are witnessing a similar jump in sales.

Samsung Galaxy Grad Duos, S4, Note 2, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5 are doing exceedingly well due to the zero per cent interest, and no down payment offers, according to retailers. Some offers include special student buy-back, cash-back, equated-monthly instalment (EMI) offers at zero per cent interest and no processing fees.

BlackBerry and Nokia have also upped the ante to regain lost ground. BlackBerry has started offering its Z10 and Curve smart phones through finance schemes. “We have rolled out various schemes and offers in India to ensure affordability and availability of our devices on a large scale across the country,” said Ashish Gupta, Director, Marketing, BlackBerry India.

Nokia, which has just introduced the top-of-the-line Lumia 920, is offering the other Lumia range phones at attractive prices. HTC is offering discounts for its range of phones while Sony has also joined the race by coming out with best buy offers. According to retailers, the highest jump in sales is coming from the mid-level executives and high-end executives who buy for their family members. “. The challenge of making the high-end smartphones affordable to the customers has now become a part of Apple and Samsung plan this year. This has resulted in a substantial jump in Samsung smartphone sales in our stores and astronomical jump in Apple sales (300-400 per cent increase) since Apple is on a smaller base. Samsung continues to dominate the market,” said Himanshu Chakrawarti, CEO, The Mobile Store Ltd, an Essar Group company.

The EMI impact is the highest in the Rs. 15,000- Rs. 40,000 range sold through credit cards, he said.

According to analysts, Micromax and Karbonn are doing very well in the entry-level, and in the sub-Rs. 10,000 segment. According to estimates, in 2012, around 221 million handsets were sold in India. Out of which, 16.5 million were smartphones.  “Smarphone sales are growing at a rate of 50 per cent,” said an analyst from Gartner.

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