Premium smartphone segment is driving growth and 70% sales happening outside Tier 1

EMI penetration, exchange and BNPL (buy now pay later) have been key components for this growth

February 19, 2024 02:31 pm | Updated 04:47 pm IST

Ranjit Babu, Director, smartphones and televisions, Amazon India

Ranjit Babu, Director, smartphones and televisions, Amazon India | Photo Credit: Haider Ali Khan

Overall volume in smartphone business is flat, but value is growing, and last year, it was higher than ever, Amazon India’s top executive told The Hindu. “The growth is coming from premium segment [above ₹30k], which is growing more than 40% annually,” Ranjit Babu, Director of smartphones and televisions at Amazon India said on Thursday.

EMI penetration, exchange option and buy now pay later schemes have been key to this growth, he said.

At a time when about 35-40% of the smartphone sales in the country is happening through easy financing schemes, Amazon India is looking to boost the take up of its in-house Pay Later service through better offers in the current year, said Babu.

“OnePlus leads the premium segment on Amazon followed by Apple and Samsung. OnePlus outpaced on value in 2023,” he added.

For OnePlus, Nord C3 3 Lite and Open did exceedingly well in 2023, said Babu. “OnePlus’s flagship products of 2024 (OnePlus 12 and OnePlus 12R) are doing good as well,” he added.

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Apple and Samsung have genuine customer demand built over the years, Babu said. “Apple is getting significant traction in India and continue to do so.”

Babu pointed that the 5G smartphone price will become more affordable, starting somewhere at around ₹9,999.

On the demographic share of sales, the category director mentioned that Amazon’s 70% sales are happening outside Tier 1. He stressed that there is no saturation among urban buyers going online.

Amazon is also using gen AI to highlight and summarise customers reviews which is currently available in English now, but he believes that it could be expanded to other regional languages as LLMs grow.

Over a period of time, customers have realised that there is a certain need that online fulfils in making a purchase decision, said Babu.

On the decision of OnePlus pulling out of smart TV business, Amazon said that it has not affected them. “Market has very strong players like Sony, Samsung, and LG. Sony does exceedingly well on Amazon. We continue to grow on both customer transactions and absolute value,” said Babu.

On the recently announced recession in U.K and Japan and its possible impact on smartphone business in India, Amazon said India continues to be one of the largest phone markets. “We still have customers who are willing to upgrade.” Indians are upgrading their smartphones in 3.5 to 4 years, he informed.

Babu believes that 5G and premium segment will continue to drive growth for Amazon India in 2024.

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