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Smartphone Market Will Decline 3.2% in 2019: Reports Gartner

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Gartner estimates there are more than 5 billion mobile phones used around the world. After years of growth, the worldwide smartphone market has reached a tipping point. Sales of smartphones will decline by 3.2% in 2019, which would be the worst decline the category has seen (see Table 1).

“This is due to consumers holding onto their phones longer, given the limited attraction of new technology,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner.

The lifetimes of premium phones — for example, Android and iOS phones — continue to extend through 2019. Their quality and technology features have improved significantly and have reached a level today where users see high value in their device beyond a two-year time frame.

Consumers have reached a threshold for new technology and applications: “Unless the devices provide significant new utility, efficiency or experiences, users do not necessarily want to upgrade their phones,” said Mr. Atwal.

Table 1

Worldwide Device Shipments by Device Type, 2018-2021 (Millions of Units)

Device Type 2018 2019 2020 2021
Traditional PCs (Desk-Based and Notebook) 195.3 188.4 177.9 169.2
Ultramobiles (Premium) 64.4 67.3 71.8 76.4
Total PC Market 259.7 255.7 249.7 245.6
Ultramobiles (Basic and Utility) 149.6 140.9 137.3 135.7
Computing Device Market 409.3 396.6 387 381.3
Mobile Phones 1,813.40 1,743.10 1,768.80 1,775.50
Total Device Market 2,222.70 2,139.70 2,155.80 2,156.80

Source: Gartner (September 2019) 

5G-Capable Phones Continue to Be On The Rise

The share of 5G-capable phones will increase from 10% in 2020 to 56% by 2023.

“The major players in the mobile phone market will look for 5G connectivity technology to boost replacements of existing 4G phones,” said Mr. Atwal. “Still, less than half of communications service providers (CSPs) globally will have launched a commercial 5G network in the next five years.

“More than a dozen service providers have launched commercial 5G services in a handful of markets so far,” said Mr. Atwal. “To ensure smartphone sales pick up again, mobile providers are starting to emphasize 5G performance features, like faster speeds, improved network availability and enhanced security. As soon as providers better align their early performance claims for 5G with concrete plans, we expect to see 5G phones account for more than half of phone sales in 2023. As a result of the impact of 5G, the smartphone market is expected to return to growth at 2.9% in 2020.”

5G will impact more than phones. The recent Gartner IoT forecast showed that the 5G endpoint installed base will grow 14-fold between 2020 and 2023, from 3.5 million units to 48.6 million units. By 2028, the installed base will reach 324.1 million units, although 5G will make up only 2.1% of the overall Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints.

“The inclusion of 5G technology may even be incorporated into premium ultramobile devices in 2020 to make them more marketable to customers,” said Mr. Atwal.

PC Device Trends in 2019

While worldwide PC shipments totaled 63 million units and grew 1.5% in the second quarter of 2019, unclear external economic issues still cast uncertainty over PC demand this year. PC shipments are estimated to total 256 million units in 2019, a 1.5% decline from 2018.

The consumer PC market will decline by 9.8% in 2019, reducing its share of the total market to less than 40%. The collective increase in consumer PC lifetimes will result in 10 million fewer device replacements through 2023. With the Windows 10 migration peaking, business PCs will decline by 3.9% in 2020 after three years of growth.

“There is no doubt the PC landscape is changing,” said Mr. Atwal. “The consumer PC market requires high-value products that can meet specific consumer tasks, such as gaming. Likewise, PC vendors are having to cope with uncertainty from potential tariffs and Brexit disruptions. Ultimately, they need to change their business models to one based on annual service income, rather than the peaks and troughs of capital spending.”

Rajeev has witnessed the growth of technology across all verticals since he started his career in journalism. With a vast experience of almost 11 years in the technology market in India, he has worked closely with the industry leaders and has been part of this revolution in IT & communication market in India. He started his career as an entrepreneur in 2009 in the technology world. Currently, he is Director of News Dot Media Pvt. Ltd., Chief Editor for Digital Terminal (Magazine & Online) & Telecomtoday.in  

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Amazon Announces The Fire TV Streaming Trends in India

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Amazon revealed how India consumed entertainment on Fire TV devices in 2020. Since launching in 2017, Amazon Fire TV has entertained millions of customers in India, transforming the way entertainment is consumed in the living room.

2020 was a year that posed extraordinary challenges. Customers adapted to the new normal, streaming more of their favourite content on Fire TV devices, making it their preferred place for all the entertainment needs. 

“With the best selection of TV shows, movies and originals from all popular content providers, Fire TV is now an integral part of the customer’s living room. In 2020, customers loved the Fire TV experience for everything from entertainment, originals, fitness, gaming, sports and much more. With Alexa, voice quickly became the simplest way to find and watch your favourite content; with Fire TV’s universal search customers do not have to switch through multiple apps.” said Parag Gupta, Head, Amazon Devices, India. “We are thrilled to see the response from customers from across India and will continue to provide an intuitive, simple and transformative Fire TV experience,” he added.

Here are some fascinating streaming trends that show how customers across India did so much more than just watch movies and TV shows on Fire TV devices in 2020.

Fire TV in Demand

  • Millions of Fire TV devices have been sold in India making it a customer favourite. In 2020, Fire TV saw more than 50 million monthly active users on its devices worldwide, indicating customers are streaming more than ever before. 
  • Fire TV sales in metros continue to grow with Delhi NCR leading the way followed by Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
  • More new customers joined the Fire TV family in 2020 from non-metro cities. Among them, Coimbatore accounted for the highest number of Fire TV devices sold.

Stay Home, Stay Entertained with Fire TV 

  • With people spending more time at home, total hours spent by active customers on Fire TV devices more than doubled in 2020. Moreover, customers spent more than 3 hours per day on their Fire TV devices through 2020
  • Fire TV customers welcomed the eagerly awaited season 2 of the popular Prime Video original Mirzapur, with over 50% of them completing the new season within 48 hours of its release
  • Customers from over 3900 cities and towns across the country watched their favourite content on Prime Video on Fire TV devices 
  • 2020 was a year of several direct-to-service movies. Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo Sitabo, Coolie No. 1 (Bollywood), V (Telugu), Soorarai Pottru, Ponmagal Vandhal (Tamil) were the most watched movies from Prime Video on Fire TV devices 
  • Good content transcends geographical barriers. Prime Video’s first slate of direct to service movies received close to 50% viewership on Fire TV devices for titles in regional  languages (Tamil , Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada) from customers outside the home states  
  • Customers loved to watch their cricketing heroes in action as viewership grew by 50% for Disney+ Hotstar on Fire TV devices during IPL 2020

Beyond Movies and TV shows 

  • Customers loved listening to music on their Fire TV devices with Amazon Prime Music streaming growing more than 35% in 2020. 
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chhattisgarh, Manipur and Sikkim emerged as the fastest growing states for music streaming on Fire TV devices 
  • Customers did more with their Fire TV devices! Hours spent on fitness and cooking apps on Fire TV devices grew by 3X during lockdown. 
  • Customers loved playing their favourite games on Fire TV devices as gaming app hours more than doubled during the lockdown. The love for gaming continued even after the lockdown with gaming hours remaining 65% higher than pre-lockdown. 

Just #AskAlexa on Fire TV  

  • Customers using the Alexa Voice Remote to search content increased by more than 70% in 2020 versus 2019 
  • Jaipur topped the charts with most voice searches on Fire TV devices among non-metros 
  • Getting smarter with Alexa! Customers used their Fire TV devices twice as much in 2020 to control their smart home appliances using Alexa
  • ‘Wild Planet – Animal Sounds Library’ was 2020’s most popular Alexa Skill on Fire TV devices, followed by ‘Sanjeev Kapoor recipes’ Alexa Skill 
  • Ramayana and Mahabharata together saw close to 350K content searches during lockdown 
  • Aaj Tak, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and Doraemon were the most asked terms on Alexa in Hindi 

In a challenging year, Amazon Fire TV continued to bring entertainment to customers. There are tens of millions of customers all over the globe streaming billions of hours of content every month on Fire TV.  Fire TV continues to get better with new features and functionality added regularly.

*All data and trends indicated above are for installed Fire TV devices across India for 2020. Definition of time periods: Lockdown (24th March to 30th May) | Pre-Lockdown (24th Jan to 24th March) | Recent Past (1 Nov to 31st Dec)

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79% Users Reconsidering WhatsApp Despite New Privacy Policy: CMR Study

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Amidst the raging controversy over the recently updated WhatsApp Privacy Policy announcement, Indians are reconsidering their WhatsApp usage, with some even contemplating to leave WhatsApp post-implementation of the new Terms of Service. As per new research by CyberMedia Research (CMR), 76% of those surveyed are aware of the new WhatsApp Privacy Policy. An overwhelming 79% are reconsidering using WhatsApp, with 28% of those even planning to leave WhatsApp after implementation of its new policy in May 2021.

In response to the WhatsApp ‘take it or leave it policy’, consumers ascribed a range of emotions ranging from feeling angry (49%), to not trusting WhatsApp ever again (45%), to feeling a breach of trust (35%). A mere 10% of consumers remain indifferent to the new Policy announcement.

Commenting on the study findings, Satya Mohanty, Head- Industry Consulting Group (ICG), CMR, “When it comes to messaging with loved ones, or communicating with the world, WhatsApp has been the default choice. However, as our study findings point out, the current debate goes much beyond privacy oriented consumers, with some even contemplating stopping their WhatsApp usage, and considering alternatives, such as Telegram or Signal. Consumer preference is being driven by word of mouth, as well as by the array of features the platform offers.”

For users of instant messaging apps, trust and security of instant messaging apps are absolutely critical.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head- Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, “We are at the cusp of a potential seminal shift in consumer’s understanding and perspectives around privacy, security and most importantly, brand trust. For consumers, WhatsApp was their own, free and intimate messaging platform. As WhatsApp eventually moves into a much closer integration with the Facebook ecosystem from hereon, it risks an erosion in brand trust and brand loyalty – both key determinants for enduring competitive market advantage.”

As per the study results, 41% of those surveyed indicated planning to shift to Telegram, whereas 35% preferred Signal. Telegram scores over Signal in terms of awareness (55%) and actual usage (39%). Over the past one year, 37% of users have actually used Telegram, compared to a mere 10% for Signal, a rather nascent messaging app that is enjoying a spike in downloads in recent days.

“I believe the current shift in social networking-cum-messaging platforms is not transient. Driven by network effects, the emerging privacy-focused messaging alternatives can swiftly gain enduring traction. Our research points out that Telegram, in particular, has gained traction amongst users over the past year, much before the recent WhatsApp PR fiasco. While Signal has enjoyed a recent burst in its popularity, it has not been able to scale swiftly enough, and users have faced challenges with it, ” added Prabhu.

Here are some other major highlights from the Social Safe study:

  • Majority of users on WhatsApp and FB Messenger do not feel convenient and safe while storing their chat backup on third party or non-end-to-end encrypted platforms such as Google Drive or iCloud. Among the alternatives, Telegram users retain high trust in the dedicated cloud that Telegram offers (49%).
  • 55% of WhatsApp users face the challenge of media files (photos, videos, documents, PPT) from messenger apps, eating up phone memory.
  • Almost 50% of those surveyed have received suspicious messages from unknown numbers, with potential phishing, malicious links. The occurrence of phishing is high amongst WhatsApp users (52%), and lowest amongst Telegram users (28%).
  • Three in every four IM users face challenges frequently or sometimes in re-sharing the content on Groups whenever new members join in.
  • >71% people feels safe while joining any mass Group or Channel on Telegram as they don’t need to reveal their phone number to strangers.
  • The occurrence of spam is high with incumbents, with >50% of WhatsApp and FB Messenger users facing spams daily.
  • Only one-third of IM users feel acknowledged on abusive content reporting methods of their messaging applications. For instance, 73% of WhatsApp users feel helpless to counter illegal, abusive and copyrighted content, whereas Telegram users are most acknowledged while reporting such content through in-app buttons, and an Abuse Notification Channel.

Notes for Editors

The CMR Social Safe study is based on an extensive primary consumer survey covering 1500 consumers spread across the top eight cities of India, viz., Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune.

For results based on a randomly chosen sample of this size, there is 95% confidence that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3% of what they would be if the entire population had been surveyed.

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boAt Becomes World’s 5th Largest Wearable Device Brand

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Breaking all barriers, home-grown consumer audio & accessories brand boAt Lifestyle has placed India on the global map by becoming 5th largest wearable brand basis shipments as per the leading market research and advisory firm International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Wearable Device Tracker for 3Q20 (July-September 2020). In addition to becoming the 5th largest wearable brand, boAt has also solidified its position in the Indian market by capturing 1/3rd market share.  According to IDC data, the brand sailed through the pandemic to break all records and has witnessed a growth of 4X to reach 3.3 million units shipped in the last quarter.

Rise in ‘from Home’ culture like ‘Work from Home’, ‘Study at Home’ and ‘Stadium at Home (with IPL) continues to act as a catalyst this festive season for consumers to buy boAt products that offer great sound experience. Aggressive marketing backed with strong product line-up at affordable prices, strong channel partnerships, portfolios across various price tiers, and building a strong consumer base are some of the strategies that worked for boAt.

Congratulating boAt on this historic occasion Rajesh Sharma Executive Director and Principal Advisor at Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA), “It’s indeed a matter of great satisfaction and a proud moment for us to witness an Indian brand capture the one-third of the earwear / mobile accessories market. We at ICEA have always been supportive and promoting Indian Champions and, envisage boAt to export its products globally. Indian start-ups are competitive and have the potential to become global leaders. We need to focus on building capabilities in domestic R&D and undertake vertical integration across the wearable space to establish India as a global supplier”.

On the global recognition, Aman Gupta, Co-founder, boAt said, “We are humbled overwhelmed with the confidence and support entrusted by boAtheads over the years. It is a moment of pride for all Indians as it validates the growing acceptance of home-grown brands globally. With the support of our Govt. we will aim to become a global lifestyle brand. We at boAt understand the requirement of millennials and will continue doing what we do the best to serve the community of boAtheads. “

boAt has been challenging the status quo in a sector dominated by established global brands. It has ramped up quickly in a short span of just over four years, through its core high-quality, smart, efficient, stylish, and durable line of audio products. It has already created a community of over 3 million boAtheads online (consumers) who want to be seen listening and wearing their boAt accessories to make a lifestyle statement.

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