Indians are increasingly taking to smartphones and the number of such devices in the country touched 40 million last year with almost half of the users younger than 25, according a user study conducted by Nielsen. This growth is primarily attributed to the desire among users to stay connected and have instant access to social networking sites.
According to the report, decreasing device and data costs, coupled with a wide range of features that today’s smartphones offer, readily encourage consumers to trade in their traditional cell phones for handsets with much more functionality.
The Indian smartphone user study found that 93 percent of smartphone users own only one handset, making it their single source of infotainment on the go. It also found that smartphone users in India overwhelmingly prefer mobile devices that operate on the Android operating system, which highlights Indian consumers’ desire for a platform that is open and available across multiple brands and prices. While Symbian usage is also high in India, Windows, BlackBerry and iOS devices each only have single-digit market shares.
The study found that consumers are also spending notably more time on their tablets. While only 3 percent of respondents who participated in the study in the last quarter of 2012 said they owned a tablet, 11 percent said they intended to purchase one.
The Indian smartphone user study also revealed that voice calls and texting accounted for only 25 percent of smartphone usage; multimedia, games, apps and Internet browsing made up the rest. Among apps, consumers prefer games, particularly with respect to paid apps.
Games were the most popular category among paid apps, with nearly three out of five users (58%) paying for games. Other popular paid app categories among smartphone users include chat and instant messaging (53%) and streaming music (45%).
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According to the study, only half of the smartphone users polled have active data access. While this percentage may be significantly higher than the mobile data penetration for feature phone users, it indicates that millions of smartphone users still don’t have access to mobile Internet connectivity.
The data is based on a study conducted by Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights, an alliance between Nielsen and Informate Mobile Intelligence, on more than 10,000 consumers in September and October 2012 across 46 cities in India to assess overall usage and device preferences.