Smartphone users unhappy with the performance of sub-Rs 30,000 devices

Even as smartphone brands go up the price ladder seeking higher profits, there is rising dissatisfaction among users over device performance, particularly those priced below Rs 30K, leaving room for disruption, according to a tech research firm survey.In a consumer survey involving more than 1,000 users, TechArc found that 61% users of smartphones priced below Rs 30,000 change phones within a year due to poor performance. Speed of the device is a major challenge users face, followed by battery backup and technical glitches like the phone hanging.

“One of the key triggers for users foraying in the sub-Rs 30K segment is owning smartphones which offer great performance coupled with speeds aligning with fast lifestyle. Over the past few years, the segment peaked in terms of innovation, but we see most launches reaching a saturation level on that score, resulting in increasing disappointment upon usage,” said Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst, of TechArc.

The study also found that 87% users are willing to pay a premium for a better processor for good performance and experience with the device, while 84% think phones with good performance only come at a premium. Additionally, 82% of users said phones in the sub-Rs 30,000 segment are very similar in terms of the features while 80% of the respondents agreed there are no disruptive phones in the segment.

The study comes amid a softening of demand for smartphones due to inflationary pressures and rising prices. With margins falling due to high component prices in the budget segment, smartphone brands are also increasingly moving up the price ladder seeking higher profits, leaving behind the volume-driving budget segment.

Features like 144Hz refresh rate, a flagship processor and fast-charging top the wish-list of users while evaluating performance of a device, indicating what performance means for smartphone buyers in this category with more than 86% respondents agreeing that best-in-class performance has to be affordable.

The sub-Rs 30,000 segment used to include a few budget flagship smartphones till 2019, before Covid-19 lockdowns and component shortages pushed up prices.

According to ET’s analysis of the 16 smartphone models launched in the Rs 20,000-30,000 segment till June 2022, majority of them feature fast-charging of 44 watts and above, but compromise with a mid-range processor. However, none of the models launched in that segment featured 144 Hz refresh rate display.

The survey also found 61% of users change their devices within a year or less, while a third of the users change phones once in six months. This is driven primarily by factors like performance, and the need to stay updated.

The survey was conducted to study the user expectations in the sub-30,000 segment and found that the camera quality, operating system, technical superiority, video quality and value for money are the key attributes buyers consider before purchasing a smartphone in this segment.