Micromax faces crisis as customers plan new smartphones

Micromax smartphone
Micromax, the #2 smartphone brand in India, is set to face the music because 38 percent of their customers are planning to replace their device in the next 6 months.

Micromax has the greatest exposure to replacement sales, with 38 percent of its owners very likely to replace their device. For comparison, 16 percent of Xiaomi owners are very likely to replace their device in the next 6 months, according to Strategy Analytics.

David Kerr, senior vice president at Strategy Analytics, said: “Micromax is under intense pressure as its customers look to upgrade their devices.”

Half of LG and Micromax phone owners intend to replace their device. Battery performance and camera quality dominate feature drivers but Indian smartphone models lag the global market in terms of 4G LTE SKUs and suffer from inferior battery life and camera resolutions.

Apple is the top preferred brand for the next smartphone even among its Android panel while Xiaomi is favored by 1 in 7. Only 6 percent of all owners list Micromax as a preferred vendor for their next smartphone which is a huge concern for the second placed vendor.

Intenders for Apple, LG and Huawei are primarily Samsung customers today. New customers for Intex and Lava Mobile are most likely to defect from Micromax.

Offerings from Chinese phone vendors Oppo, Vivo, LeEco, and Lenovo, along with upcoming local players such as Reliance Jio, will make the Android smartphone market even more volatile in the second half of 2016.

India is a critical market for Chinese vendors with aspirations to be top-five globally as the domestic Chinese market matures. Only 1 in 4 Indians have smartphones today. Establishing the correct mix of product, channels and price-tier support represents significant challenges for Chinese OEMs who need stronger understanding of the local Indian needs.

Some 800 phone models compete for mind and wallet share of the $16 billion Indian smartphone market. Over 40 percent of Indian Android users are likely to replace their smartphone in the next 6 months.

The report said online is the preferred channel for the next smartphone purchase by most Indian smartphone owners. Two-thirds prefer online channels for their next smartphone against 25 percent who bought online in 2015.

The report, which uses on-device polling from the AppOptix consumer telemetry platform, finds that battery is the dominant driver of smartphone purchases for 45 percent of Indian replacement buyers followed by camera quality. 4G/LTE is growing in importance, at 18 percent.

“Improving battery performance along with continuing to promote camera quality and video experiences will be key, especially in the mid and entry price-tiers ($35-190) which together account for over 75 percent of the Indian smartphone market,” said Rajeev Nair, senior analyst Handset Country Share Tracker India.

Strategy Analytics tracks almost 800 active smartphone SKUs across 11 major carriers and retailers in India.