Tablet makers like Micromax, HCL, Datawind get half their sales from small towns.
Like any other small town youth, the twenty year old Nitin, a student in Gorakhpur, a small town in Uttar Pradesh, uses his tablet to download notes from an online tutorial. He uses the tablet for playing games, listening to songs and even reading his favorite books.
Like Nitin, a number of people in the small towns of India are adapting to technology as quickly as their counterparts in the metros. Tapping this potential, low-cost tablet makers like Micromax, HCL Infosystems, Zync, Karbonn, Datawind among others have found a booming market in tier-II and III cities across the country that now accounts for more than half their sales.
As reported in The Economic Times, the largest consumers are from non-urban markets for many of these tablet makers. Many brands have been shipping tablets to the interiors of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala from Delhi.
Cybermedia Research Sanket, a Lucknow-based distributor of tablets and smart phones, said that a large number of consumers coming to them to buy smart phones often end up buying tablets when they realise the utility and novelty of the product.When they see that they can pretty much do everything they need on a tablet, which has a larger screen and costs just about the same as an entry-level smart phone, they’re happy to choose tablets.70 per cent of the buyers are youngsters between the age group of 15 to 35 years who require tablets for using the internet and making phone calls.
Marketers have realised that the needs and demands of the non-metro consumer are the same as that of the urban consumer. The contribution of technology in their lives is just as crucial, therefore they are willing to adopt, and adapt to, new technology.
Ambala-based Simpy Singh, who sells six tablet brands including HCL, BSNL’s Penta Tab and Lava, gets 10-15 queries daily on tablets. He said that first-time users were eager to buy tablets for education and entertainment purposes while some also buy second-hand or pre-used tablets.
For HCL Infosystems’, tier-II and III towns, that make up for roughly half its sales, would continue to be important contributors going ahead. But there is a need to differentiate themselves quickly if they want to maintain the kind of following they enjoy now. The tablet market has been a price game which has been terribly commoditised and hence, there has to be differentiation.
Tablet sales in India are 10 times more than what was sold in 2011. CyberMedia Research (CMR) India, that reviews the tablet market, said that more than 1 million tablets were sold in the quarter ended December 2012, and that sales in second half of the year had doubled over the first half of 2012. The agency reports that over the year, more than 63 per cent of sales were from tablets costing less than Rs 10,000.
The growth of the market has been complimented by the increase in the number of wi-fi hotspots. Mobile phone companies like Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and others concentrate on building wi-fi capabilities for their data users.