Demystifying Indian Customers – What do they want from a Tablet?
n a growing economy like India, most of the population is connected to the Internet through their mobile devices rather than through the broadband or Wi-Fi, so the growth rates of mobile devices is astounding. But 2012 has been the year of tablet devices in India as opposed to mobiles phones as it saw a huge growth in that space even overtaking the mobile phone growth by over 3 times as per the Infographic released by one of the largest online shopping websites – Snapdeal.
There is an interesting trend that is being noticed with the Indian consumers of late. Those who cannot afford to buy high end smartphones or tablets but want to stay connected with their friends and browse the web buy a cheap phone which is used just for making calls while they use the tablet for all their Internet and entertainment needs.
As per a research carried out by Cyber Media Research, which has been a front runner in market research, consulting and advisory services since 1986, Tablet market sales in India (unit shipments) have touched 0.55 million units in Q2 2012, recording a QoQ increase of 59% and YoY increase of 673%. Micromax defied even Samsung and Apple in the number of units shipped as it stands at the #1 position due to low cost models, all of which are priced under the INR 10K mark.
Micromax stands at podium position with it’s cheaply priced Funbook while Apple surprisingly makes it to the top 3 tablet vendors which most of the rich audience buys. Samsung stands at the second place, thanks to its ultra-popular Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 tablet device. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 2′s price in India is around INR 18K and it offers very decent specifications, the latest Android version and most importantly, calling function with SIM card slot as well as a Micro SD card slot for storage expansion.
“Going forward we see vendors launching devices for particular industry segments other than Education, such as Healthcare, Retail and e-Governance. In terms of tablet use cases, the popular categories are Internet browsing, Email, Entertainment, Gaming, Social Networking, Information (Cricket, Flights etc). Clearly, the Indian user is also taking to the Tablet as a content consumption device”, adds Tarun Pathak, Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice in the official CMR blog.
Price Range – INR 5K to 10K Sells the Most
Most of the first time tablet buyers in India are youth and school students so they can’t spend much on a luxury gadget such as the tablet PC. Most of them buy a tablet within the INR 10K price range. Working professionals buy a tablet within the 20K price range. Also, 95% of the tablets sold in India are below the INR 10K mark. And surprisingly, out of the remaining 5% tablets that are sold above the 10K mark, most of them are the Apple iPad.
Below is a tablet reference specification released by analyst firm Cyber Media Research which shows the trends that people want as features in the tablet. People prefer Android OS based tablets with at least 7 inch screen, 1 GHz single core processor and 512 MB of RAM.
Let’s get it straight. No version of Android can be bought below the 10K price range, not even the used or refurbished one. The only operating system based on which the affordable tablets are there in the market is Android. People prioritize the tablets which they are familiar with. People are accustomed to using Windows PC and Android is very much like it as it gives the ability to see and play with files.
“As Android devices become increasingly popular with users across the world, competition is increasing in the India Tablets market with more and more vendors launching devices based on the Android OS. The share of devices based on other operating systems like Windows, iOS and QNX are expected to rise in future in view of the recent announcement of the Microsoft Windows Surface Tablet, the global launch of the Apple iPad 3 and reduction in BlackBerry Playbook prices”, Faisal Kawoosa further added.
7 Inch Screen – Most Preferred Size
Most of the users like the 7 inch screen size because of its portable size and that it can be used as a replacement for the mobile phone. It is even easier to carry around in a jacket or a bag and there are lots of users who use tablets as their primary phone by buying a Bluetooth headset for taking calls. Also that the tablets with larger screens and higher resolutions are comparatively costlier than the 7 inch ones.
SIM Card Slot – Primarily For Calls, Data Usage Secondary
Most of the users outside developing country like India use the SIM card slot merely for data connectivity on the go but people in India use them primarily to make calls and send messages. The secondary usage is Internet connectivity as the 3G usage cost has been declining consistently from the past 1 year; more and more people want to shift to 3G services. After the MNP started, people are moving to carriers who offer 3G at cheaper rates compared to others. Some tablets which do not come with in-built SIM card slots are compatible with 3G data dongles of popular carriers like Reliance, Tata Indicom/DOCOMO, etc. for the data connectivity feature.
Storage Expansion – A Necessity
For a tablet PC device, at least 16 GB of storage space is considered as necessary. In the entry-level price segment of tablets the internal storage space of 16 GB seems impossible for the vendors to provide and a memory card slot will ensure that people can upgrade the internal storage for nominal prices.
Some other features that Indian consumers want in their tablet are keyboard attachments, educational applications and content as well as better touchscreen quality and gaming support for entertainment. As the hardware like processors and capacitive touchscreens are becoming cheaper, we can expect even better specifications in tablet PCs under the entry-level price segment.