Strategy Analytics has surveyed Indian people living in rural villages, places where people sustain themselves on roughly $130 per month, and have discovered that 63% of them are more likely to buy a mobile phone from one of the local manufacturers (i.e. Lava, Micromax, and Spice) than from established handset vendors such as Nokia and Samsung. The latter two companies have been enjoying keeping the low end market to themselves for quite some time, but that’s starting to change thanks to these new firms. Is it a matter of being nationalistic and wanting to support a company that listens to the people? Not really, apparently it’s all about cost. When people who make less in a month than what you do in a day they’re looking for the best value for their dollar, and no one can match the Indian vendors. They don’t have to deal with import taxes or high labor costs. It wasn’t mentioned how many people took part in the survey, nor which parts of India they’re from exactly, which is important since it’s a country of over 1 billion people, but Nokia and Samsung should be paying attention.
Low end devices may not be exciting, but in many parts of the world they’re the hottest selling consumer good since mass production of metal pots and pans began. Chinese vendors have traditionally been able to create devices that cost less than what everyone else charges, but dubious quality and a lack of parts needed in case a device breaks have kept their share of the market low. We recently reported on the Micromax Andro A60, which for $155 gives you an Android powered smartphone with bottom of the barrel same specifications. It’s devices like those that are going to win people over, especially since 3G networks are now starting to become live in India.