We have all lost count of the number of smartphone brands selling Android phones in India. A few years ago, there were only Samsung, Sony, LG & HTC. Subsequent to the “Chinese invasion” in India, there are a plethora of mobile brands such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Gionee, Huawei, Vivo, Meizu, LeEco & Coolpad. This is in addition to the home grown Indian brands such as Micromax, YU, Lava, Intex & Karbonn.

However, not all brands get considered when one wants to buy an Android phone today. This is what is called as the “consideration set” in marketing terms. If your brand cannot enter the consideration set of users, any amount of advertising will only create some further brand awareness but will not be seriously considered while making the buying decision. In my opinion, Samsung, Lenovo/Motorola, Xiaomi & OnePlus makes this list today. Notably, Samsung is the only survivor from amongst the old set.

What happened to the other brands?

  • LG had winners in its hands with its LG G2 and Nexus 5 but somehow dropped the ball with G3, G4 & G5. These phones had some brilliant features but lost out as a complete package.
  • HTC decided not to launch the Qualcomm Snapdragon powered HTC One M9 in India and launched an inferior version powered by Mediatek instead. HTC 10 though being a brilliant device, does not find favour at its existing price when compared with the likes of Samsung Galaxy S7.
  • Sony has officially defocussed on India and is only launching mid-range devices such as Xperia X at high prices.

Neither of these 3 brands had any competitive models in the low end segment anyways.

Which brands make the consideration set today?

  • Samsung continues to make merry with its Galaxy & Note series doing well at the top end while its A-Series & J-Series still attracting consumers at the mid end.
  • Lenovo/Motorola group has launched several models in the meantime with Moto G4 Plus, ZUK Z1, Lenovo Vibe K5 Note, Lenovo Vibe P1m, Lenovo Vibe X3 gaining strong traction with the market.
  • Xiaomi despite consumer rants against its flash sales model and despite my personal dislike for MIUI has been offering value for money devices at bargain prices that make them hard to ignore. The Redmi Note 3 and Redmi 3s are amazing value for money propositions.
  • OnePlus is able to catch eyeballs with its solitary device, the OnePlus 3.

Apart from these four, Google’s Nexus devices also make their presence felt. While Nexus 6P from Huawei is the only device worth considering right now but the new 2016 series from HTC is expected soon.

Other brands such as Oppo, Gionee, Vivo really need to have that one product with great specs at an attractive price which catches the attention of consumers. These manufacturers have several decent models in the market but none that stands out from the competition.

Rural India may be only price conscious & not pay attention to anything else. However, when it comes to urban India, only these 4 or 5 brands make the cut in the “consideration set”.

The Consideration Set for Android Phones in Urban India