India Sees Jump in Online Purchase of Smartphones in 2021 Due to COVID-19: Counterpoint


According to a report, more than 50 percent of smartphones sold in India in 2021 were bought online, compared to over a third last year. This change in buying trend has been attributed to the extended presence of COVID-19 and the high number of casualties during its second wave in 2021. The report also said that consumers bought more smartphones (15 per cent) belonging to the affordable premium and premium segment. Price in 2021 Rs 30,000 and above as compared to last year (7 per cent).

According to Counterpoint Research’s Market Lens consumer surveyMovement restrictions during COVID-19 forced many offline consumers to buy phones online. In 2020, 63 percent of consumers bought smartphones from offline channels, compared to 37 percent in 2021. Last year 47 per cent bought their handsets from online channels, while this year 53 per cent bought their handsets.

Additionally, “reverse migration of knowledge workers from large cities to smaller towns and cities also played a significant role in popularizing online channels,” the research firm said. Apart from this, special offers, variety of options and pricing are some more reasons that compelled people to prefer online channels to buy smartphones.

Interestingly, the source of information on the smartphone has also changed. Consumers relied more on YouTubers as well as influencers, not word of mouth and friends/family, to make smartphone buying decisions this year. Similarly, online reviews and articles were also overlooked in favor of comparison websites and TV commercials when making smartphone buying decisions.

As mentioned, customers bought smartphones belonging to the affordable premium and premium segment as they saved more due to work-from-home conditions. “Smartphones have become an essential part of life with the increase in virtual connectivity. As a result, there is a bustle in the market, with a significant portion of smartphone users looking to buy their next smartphone from a higher price band,” the market research firm said.