62% of Indian mobile phone users prefer Android based smartphones over other mobile operating systems, according to a survey conducted by Nielsen and Informate Mobile Intelligence on the overall usage and device preferences in India.
Metholodogy: Nielsen says that the survey was conducted on a sample size of 10,000 consumers in September and October 2012, across 46 cities in India.
Most Preferred Smartphone Operating Systems In India
According to the report, Android is followed by Symbian as the next most preferred OS with 21% of the consumers vouching for it, while other mobile operating systems like Windows, Blackberry and iOS registered only a single digit adoption, indicating very low consumer preference for these devices in the Indian market.
We believe that the availability of Android across various mobile brands and pricing points is probably one of the key reasons of Android’s huge market share in India. Remember that Google had claimed in June 2012 that the Android adoption rate of Android had grew by over 500% year-on-year in developing countries like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand.
That being said, it would be interesting to see if Android will be able to maintain its lead over its competing platforms in the future, considering that Apple has reportedly ramped up its sales team in India, BlackBerry has launched a new version of its operating system called BlackBerry 10 and Nokia has started launching low cost Windows Phone 8 devices like the Lumia 620.
Trends in Paid Services on Smartphones
Besides a strong preference for smartphones and Android, the report also suggests that Games is currently the most popular category among paid apps, with 58% of the users paying for games, followed by chat and instant messaging services which accounted for 53% and Music streaming services which accounted for 45% of the users.
It is interesting to note that the voice calls and texting accounted for 25% of the phone usage and there is a stark fall in the usage of voice calls and texting services by smartphone users.
The rise in chat and instant messaging services and fall in voice calls and texting could be due to economical data usage packs introduced by operators and low subscription fee from app providers. Although the data packs tariffs have been increased in the recent times, chatting over an app might still work out cheaper than the traditional means. For instance, Whatsapp provides instant messaging free for the first year and subsequently charges only Rs. 55 per year, which on an average will workout cheaper for a user as compared to voice calls and texting.
Percentage of Smartphones Users Accessing Internet Through Their Phones:
The study has also revealed that only 50% of the smartphone users in the country have access to Internet over their smartphones and 48% of the smartphone users are under 25 years of age. This clearly indicates that the youth are adopting Internet over their phones much faster than other age groups using smartphones in the country.
It is also worth noting that Nokia handsets had emerged as the most popular mobile vendor for Internet access in India, accounting for 52.1% of the total pageviews generated in the country, as per a StatCounter report last month. Nokia was followed by Samsung which accounted for 26.87% of the total pageviews.
Tablet Ownership Likely to Increase?
Although only 3% of the respondents in the study owned a tablet, the report states that 11% of the users plan to buy a tablet in the next 3 months which shows a steady raise in consumer interest in tablets.
Previous Developments in the Smartphones Sector:
Reliance Communications has partnered with Lenovo to launch Android based GSM-CDMA smartphones in India. It would be interesting to see if RCOM launches a bundled plan across CDMA and GSM, wherein users can use CDMA technology for data, and GSM technology for calls.
Prior to this, Reliance Communications had also inked a two year partnership with Google to promote Android, following which RCOM had mentioned during its Q3-FY12 results that it had registered an increase in data usage in its network.
Although the focus may be on smartphones, the feature phones category seems to still generate traction in the country. Validating this, Vuclip, a mobile video search and delivery company had acquired mobile streaming startup Jigsee last week to build feature phone apps.