Teens driving India's smartphone sales

Some 22 percent of smartphone sales in India currently come from consumers aged 16 to 18 years, driven by low-cost smartphones offered by both domestic and international brands.
Written by Nitin Puri, Contributor

A recent study conducted by Nielson India indicates there currently are 51 million smartphone users in rural India, a jump of 89 percent from 2012 when the number was just 27 million.


Furthermore, the spike in sales is coming directly from the age group of 16 to 18 year olds, which contribution to this market has increased 5 percent in 2012 to 22 percent this year, reports The Economic Times. The growth is driven by low-cost smartphones offered by both domestic and international brands.

The metros have the highest penetration of smartphones at 23 percent, up from just 10 percent in 2012, while use of online apps has increased and browsing has decreased. Furthermore, offline activities such as playing games and using media is up, while calls and messaging contribute just under a fifth of the time spent on smartphones.

These are definitely encouraging numbers to say the least for the Indian mobile industry. My only question is how many times will teens go to their parents to ask for a new device? Every six months? Or every 12 months? In India, mobile devices are considered fad toys among the youth. If you don't have the means to drive around in swanky car, at least you should outdo your peers and have the best mobile device.

Personally, I consider this a complete waste of money, especially with the high turnaround of mobile devices among the youth. It's not uncommon for them to have at least three or four "old" mobile devices lying around and collecting dust.

The smart ones will realize they can still get something back by trading in or selling off their old mobile devices, and then diverting this toward funding their purchase of a new device. At least it would teach Indian teens the value of money and the art of saving. Unfortunately, that's not really the case right now. All this can be easily resolved with parental involvement, and having parents accompany their kids to the store.

The questions teens should be asking before getting a new device: do you need it? I feell that Indian parents give in too easily to their children's demands for mobile devices and the cycle just goes on. For instance, I simply don't understand why some teens in India who are still in high school have a BlackBerry. There's simply no need for such a high-end device for someone who's not yet in the workforce. Then again, perhaps parents are recycling their own mobile phones and passing them down to their kids. 

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