Smartphone: The emerging gadget of choice for the urban Indian

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The era of the smartphone
From being a gadget of luxury and sophistication, smartphones have gone on to become a broad-based phenomenon in the Indian mobile phone market.

The numbers speak for themselves. Today, there are more than 27 million smartphone users in Urban India, which constitutes 9 percent of all mobile users in Urban India. The numbers are higher in the large metros of four million plus population with one smartphone user among ten mobile users. Interestingly, even in smaller cities with a population of one lakh to 10 lakh, the figure stands at an impressive 6 percent.

These are the findings of the study “Smartphone Incidence in Urban India”, conducted by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights amongst over 10,000 respondents in towns with one lakh plus population.

Prashant Singh, Managing Director – Nielsen Media, India

Prashant Singh, Managing Director – Nielsen Media, India

With a base of 27 million users (and growing), insights into how consumers across cities and towns are using their smartphones will go a long way in helping manufacturers, marketers and advertisers make strategic decisions. No longer can marketers (across the board) ignore the potential of this medium.

Not just voice and text
The usage pattern of smartphones clearly indicates that consumer application goes beyond the basic functions of voice calling and messaging. Based on a panel of smartphone users, Nielsen Informate reports that 87 percent use it for running online searches followed by 80 percent for social networking. While 72 per cent smartphone users are chatting and using webmail, 59 percent stream video and use their devices for maps and navigation. Banking & finance, travel and shopping account for 30 percent of usage. Accessing mobile television on smartphones is also an increasing trend in Urban India – 25 percent use their phones for this purpose.

North India leads the smartphone adoption race
From a countrywide perspective, the North zone sees the highest incidence with over one in ten owning a smartphone. Western India follows with an eight percent incidence in the region, while it is six percent for the South & East Zones.

Penetration of smartphones drops beyond SEC A
Consumers in socio economic class A have the highest penetration of smartphones, with nearly one in five being owners. Though there is a dip in numbers, there is still relevant penetration of smartphones amongst other classes across SEC B (8%), SEC C (6%) & SEC D+E (4%). This is yet another clear indication of the growing importance of smartphones.

Greater degree of smartphone ownership among young adults
The survey has found that the highest incidence of smartphone ownership is among young adults. In fact, the age group of 18 – 24 tops the list with over one in ten owning a smartphone device. Further, those below the age of 18 and above 40, see ownership figures of just five per cent.

Professional post-graduates most likely to own a smartphone
Another interesting finding thrown up by the study is the correlation between smartphone usage and education levels. The study has found that those who have completed post graduation in a professional stream are most likely to acquire and use a smartphone. Seventeen percent fall in this category while the figure is 12 percent for those who are still in college. The figure drops to eight percent for high school students.

The gender gap
Nearly twice as many men own a smartphone when compared to women. While one out of every ten men owns a smartphone, the figure is less than half when it comes to women. However, with increasing user friendliness of operating systems and their deep integration with social networks, we could see the gap coming down in the near future.

Smartphones may account for just nine percent of the urban mobile phone market but with the proliferation of apps, video content on the move and increasing dependence on social networks by users to stay ‘connected’, the smartphone segment simply cannot be underestimated – marketers would need to re-evaluate and prioritise consumer outreach media.

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