South Korean phone maker Samsung is to discontinue the feature phone segment in India. The decision comes amidst a sharp decline in the non-smartphone business and the company wants to focus on mid to premium devices instead.
Samsung’s decision to quit feature phones comes due to the heavy competition it is receiving in the budget phone segment.
However, the company will continue selling phones in the mid to premium segment. There are reports it will launch smartphones only above Rs.15,000. But Samsung has said it still has plans to sell phones under the price range in the future.
The decision to quit on feature phones in one of the world’s major phone markets comes for reasons. The competition is very high for such phones in India and it is not a must for Samsung to cling on. It already has a healthy market share in the smartphone business, especially in 4G and 5G phone sales. Samsung wants to focus on building an ecosystem to complement next-gen mobile standards.
Besides, there is a high demand for affordable mid-range phones after the Covid-19 pandemic. People are more motivated to buy cheap value for money phones. The allure to feature phones might have subsided in recent months.
Samsung sees a major fall in feature phone business in India
Counterpoint reports that India’s feature phone market saw a steep decline of 39 percent in the first quarter of 2022. It states that such phones are getting fewer demands due to high retail inflation. Samsung likewise, has also fallen the rank to 3rd in feature phones market share once top in the business.
The research firm also provides the stats that the low-budget feature phones only contributed 1 percent in value and 20 percent in volumes to the company’s total quarterly shipments. This will create a void to be filled by Nokia, Itel, and others.
Now, Samsung mainly wants to focus on mid to premium devices. It took the pole position in March with a 22 percent market share on handsets costing Rs.15,000+. Counterpoint says Samsung is the highest 5G smartphone selling brand in India which should also make its decision more sensible.
Likewise, India also has something called PLI (production-Linked Incentive) scheme for locally produced goods. But to get the benefits, Samsung needs to produce phones above Rs.15,000. This might have also played a role in the phone maker’s decision.
If the company implements this plan, it will stop selling feature phones in India by the end of this year.
Do you think the decision by Samsung to discontinue the feature phone business in India could lead other prominent OEMs to follow suit? And do you find these phones relevant these days? Do share in the comments below.