Pakyong, 24 Jan: More than 350 million people in India use “dumbphones” (basic handsets, or feature phones), and if they can afford it, they might switch to smartphones. Nearly half of them use gadgets that cost less 1,500 rupees.
According to Tarun Pathak of Counterpoint, only 35 million Indians migrated from feature phones to smartphones in 2022 due to higher costs for devices and data, down from 60 million upgrades annually before to the Covid attack. According to him, “the feature to smart phone migration has slowed down significantly.”
A booming black market for used goods that could be supplying the demand for “cheap” smartphones is frequently overlooked. Some of this need is being satisfied by the used market.
It’s bad news for India because internet usage is growing more slowly. Many people find it difficult to access government resources like immunizations, rations, and welfare benefits without a smartphone. The Unified Payments Interface (UPI), a government-backed real-time cashless transaction platform leveraging mobile applications, has seen more than 250 million transactions per day just this month. By 2025, India’s central bank envisions a “less-cash, less-card society.”
There is undoubtedly room for the internet and phones to expand further. In rural areas, the growth of wireless broadband subscribers has slowed. According to a study by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and data analytics firm Kantar, the growth rate of active internet use, or those who have accessed the internet in the past month, “progressively decreased over the years” and was the lowest in the previous four years in 2020. Men access the internet more frequently than women and use smartphones more frequently. Numerous rural homes still only have one device.
The rise of the internet is simply being slowed down by factors other than the increasing cost of phones. The majority of apps and services must handle the literacy and language obstacles in rural India. Internet content is still largely in English and a few Indian languages.
More creative solutions are required, like the battery-operated PayTM Soundbox, which provides quick audio confirmation in 11 languages to merchants for each purchase made through the payment app.