The Consideration Set for Android Phones in Urban India


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, Xiaomi & OnePlus makes this list today in addition to Google Pixel. 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 & thereafter. These phones had some brilliant features but lost out as a complete package.
  • HTC is almost dead and only recently launched a Lava phone branded as HTC in India.
  • Sony has officially defocussed on India.

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 & M-Series still attracting consumers at the mid end.
  • 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 7 Pro and Redmi K20 are amazing value for money propositions.
  • OnePlus is able to catch the “value premium” segment.

Apart from these four, Google’s Pixel devices provide an option for the camera enthusiasts & stock Android purists.

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 3 or 4 brands make the cut in the “consideration set”.