Huge Increase In Orders From Small Cities; Smartphones, TWS Earbuds Most Purchased: Amazon India's Nishant Sardana Tells News18
Huge Increase In Orders From Small Cities; Smartphones, TWS Earbuds Most Purchased: Amazon India's Nishant Sardana Tells News18
Amazon India's Nishant Sardana says the sales of audio and truly wireless headsets have grown in triple digits as smartphone manufacturers continue to ditch earphones from the box.

Amazon remains a crucial online marketplace in India that not only allows customers to buy gadgets like smartphones but also helps them learn some of the basics about their next purchase. Whether a customer is using the Amazon app or its desktop version, the platform offers a variety of filters to help users find the ‘right’ phone as per their budget. Abhik Sengupta of News18 Tech spoke to Nishant Sardana, Director – Mobile Phones & Televisions at Amazon India to understand how the mobile industry is evolving. Sardana, during the interview, highlighted that the old feature phones user base in India is slowly diminishing, and customers are moving towards smartphones due to factors such as affordability and more features.

Another key takeaway is that 5G-enabled smartphones are attracting more customers across India as the connectivity option is likely to be available for commercial usage soon, perhaps in the second half of 2022. The senior Amazon executive even told us that the platform might consider adding a special filter to segregate 5G and 4G phones in future. Apart from smartphones, Sardana pointed out that the audio accessories sale on Amazon continues to grow as many OEMs now don’t include earphones in the package.

How is Amazon viewing the smartphone market in India? What are the trends the platform is seeing?

Smartphones have been one of the fastest-growing categories on Amazon, and it brings a varied selection from all the top brands across price points. We have built a strong operations infrastructure which helps us deliver customers to the remotest regions of the country. Through our partnership with banks, sellers, and ecosystem partners, we continue to add value through exchange offers, no-cost EMI, instant bank discounts, among others.

Over the last year, we have seen close to 30 percent growth in the smartphone category not just being driven by tier I but tier II & III cities too. Customers are choosing more mid-range and premium devices with better build quality and specs as they continue to spend more time on their smartphones (work from home, video calls, OTT content or playing online games). We have seen that customers are switching from feature smartphones and gravitate towards smartphones, which are ideal for multitasking and can manage work, entertainment and day-to-day use-cases as well. We have seen that premium smartphones above 20K have seen growth by 15-20 percent. The growth in units last year was led by the 20K-30K and 30-50K price segment, which saw a more than 50 percent growth YoY respectively. This was driven by the post-covid requirement for high-performance smartphones.

Customer behaviour and preferences observed across Amazon categories (products, brands, segment, etc.) in the last few months?

Over the last year, we have seen that customers upgrade from a feature smartphone and shift to entry-level smartphones and then move to a premium range smartphone. As we say, we witnessed strong growth in the mid-range (>20K+) smartphones category as more customers upgraded to a smartphone with better build quality and performance to best suit their day-to-day demands and requirements. We are also seeing a growth in the budget range (< INR 10K) price segment. Amongst other brands on Amazon, OnePlus was the fastest growing brand with the expansion of the OnePlus Nord series in less than Rs 25,000 price segment with the launch of the OnePlus Nord CE. In 2022, we expect the category to grow even more with the entry into the 5G segment with new models and launches from the major brands.

Recently, we have come up with the ‘Amazon Inspire programme’ to make customer’s lives simpler and easier and to demystify technology for them. With this initiative, we aim to provide a seamless experience to our customers where they can discover, engage and purchase the newly launched smartphones across multiple touchpoints on the Amazon homepage, category page, search and all the marketing channels. This experience will be live only on the first day of the sale of the product & on the Amazon mobile app. With this new experience, customers will have access to the best-in-class content in the form of reviews, unboxing videos, first impression videos by the most trusted tech reviewers – all under one roof.

What is the reception in tier 2 and tier 3 cities regarding phones? What trends are we seeing?

We have seen a strong demand coming from Tier 2, and Tier 3 cities as our delivery and fulfilment networks have expanded to make the delivery even faster. Currently, we have observed that roughly 70 percent of smartphone purchases are from Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities which is 3x compared to Tier 1 cities. Three out of four smartphones that are sold on Amazon are being purchased by customers from Tier 2 cities and towns, which directly reflects the demand in tier 2 cities. Customers even in remote parts of the country continue to trust us for safe & reliable deliveries. In fact, more than half of the smartphone orders on Amazon are coming from Tier 3 or smaller cities. Moreover, we see that customers from these towns also prefer reasonably reliable smartphones at entry-level with good performance and quality features.

Customers’ expectations from the year 2022 (New launches, price points and other focus areas)?

Over the last year, we have seen customers gravitate towards smartphones which are ideal for multitasking and can manage work, entertainment, and day-to-day use-cases as well. Some of the trends seen during the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to continue, with more customers opting for high specs and performance-centric smartphones that have great optics. The customers will continue to choose smartphones that offer a better processor with larger RAM (supported by Virtual RAM or extended RAM solutions), 5G ready smartphones thus making them future-ready, display size and refresh rates will continue to be an ongoing battle, while larger battery size that compromise on design would become a need of the hour. Over 80-90 percent (>15K+) smartphones are all 5G enabled, which depicts the customer’s preference for a 5G enabled smartphone.

These are some trends we expect to grow in upcoming times. However, the technology segment is something where everything is consistently evolving and improving every day. Let’s see what comes next in the innovation front in this sector.

Apart from phones, what phone accessories are selling the most on Amazon? Top five products that customers are buying along with their smartphones?

In the last few quarters, we have witnessed that the sales of audio and truly wireless headsets have grown in triple digits. One of the reasons for this is, most smartphone brands have stopped offering headphones for free with a smartphone these days. We have also seen an increase in media consumption by customers on a smartphone for accessing OTT platforms, music, video conferencing, work-from-home needs and much more, which directly reflects on the headset demand. Nonetheless, as we move forward with time, we aim to always cater to the needs of our customers and be the most preferred destination for smartphones and accessories.

Amazon’s plans for 2022. What can we expect from the platform to ease phone shopping online?

We are a customer-centric company with a primary focus on consistently providing our customers with the widest selection, convenience, and value for money for a delightful shopping experience. Customers can get access to a vast variety of smartphones across price points available on Amazon, they can choose from a variety of smartphones to fulfil their unique needs. We aim to always provide customers with the right information and knowledge on our platform for them to make the right purchase decision. With affordable finance options and a varied collection, Amazon remains the destination of choice for mobile phone shoppers today.

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