Rajesh Goenka, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Rashi Peripherals explains how smartphones and Internet will influence the buying patterns of consumers in 2018

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Smartphones and Internet have drastically changed the communication patterns of people. The voice calls are largely replaced by video calls and apps such as WhatsApp have made text messaging almost obsolete. It will not be an exaggeration to say that today Internet has become the fourth essential thing after food, clothing, and shelter.

As we enter the year 2018, the consumption of Internet and smartphones is set to go on the next level, where adoption of smart gadgets will be on upswing and platforms such as Netflix will change the way we access digital content.

Shift from Feature Phones to 4G Phones: The transition from feature phones to a 4G phone will continue in the year 2018. The availability of high-speed Internet at a low cost will be the major catalyst in this transition. Reliance JioPhone has already created a huge disruption in this space by offering smartphones like features at an unbelievable price of Rs. 1,500. As RJio is offering 4G VoLTE, free voice calls, browsing support, preloaded apps and NFC support in this ’smart feature phone’, other handset manufacturers are also set to launch low-cost 4G handsets in the price range of Rs. 3,000-4,000. These affordable 4G phones will see large scale adoption, especially in rural India.

Wi-fi Enabled Devices to replace Set-top Boxes: Another major transition will be Wi-fi enabled devices replacing the traditional set-top boxes. Amazon Fire TV Stick and Airtel TV have already taken a major step in this direction and devices like Google Chromecast are expected to replace set-top boxes soon. Similarly, the Indian consumers will move from capex model to subscription model in a big way in 2018. In the subscription model, viewers will have freedom to select their preferred content on the go. Platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are leading this space and we will see the trend changing the TV viewing patterns of Indian viewers. Though in the nascent stage, the concept of ‘pay as you use’ is gradually picking up in India and it is set to be revolutionary in terms of how we access the digital content.

Easy Access to Digital Services: With the advent of low-cost Internet services, the consumption of digital services will spur, especially in the rural area. As the government is giving a lot of emphasis on developing the digital infrastructure in the rural parts of the country, we will see rural population accessing online services more proactively. The agriculture and education sector will be the biggest beneficiaries of this digital wave and the consumption of digital services will multiply several times in the next one year.

Smart Wearables no more Class Gadgets: While phones with 4G VoLTE capabilities will have a greater impact on the day-to-day lives of the rural population, there will be growing demand for smart wearables among the urban population. Due to the growing fitness awareness among the urban population, fitness trackers and smartwatches are set to witness exponential growth in 2018. Currently, the smart wearables are majorly limited to corporate gifting, but with the buying patterns of Indian consumers changing significantly, it will soon become a mass product, which everyone can afford to buy.

SSDs to be new mean of Data Storage: With the storage requirements of users going up, the storage technology will shift from traditional hard drives to a cloud and the emerging Solid-state drive (SSD) technology. SSDs are new generation back up devices, which are more reliable, long lasting and affordable. People will adopt SSDs in a bigger way due to its utility over hard drives and cloud. Similarly, smart devices such as wireless chargers will see a huge demand in 2018.

Gaming to become Serious Fun: Though India is far away from U.S. and China in terms of having a robust ecosystem of professional gamers, we will see gaming gaining more traction among the youth in the next one year. While smartphones are major growth drivers for online gaming, the demand for gaming PCs and gaming consoles will also rise among professional gamers competing for international gaming competitions. Online gaming leagues and E-sport tournaments such as GeForce Cup, The ROG Masters, Indian eSports Championship (leSC), ESL India Premiership, Nazara Games eSports League, etc. are already popular among youth and gaming will soon emerge as a top rated profession in the country.