The Boom of Affordable Smart TVs in India

by April 10, 2019 0 comments

The Indian market today consists of as many as 70 TV brands, which is almost double as many as it had, just two years ago. With the massive fall in prices of Smart TVs, by as much as 40%, the overall sale of TVs increased by as much as 15 percent during Diwali, last year, shedding light on the rapid growth in popularity experienced by the domain, of late. This rise in demand, however, was anything but sudden, which becomes apparent if we take a closer look at the events have shaped the industry in the last few years.

While we had long since left behind the CRT monitors of the past, the Indian consumer was still just waking up to the concept of affordable flat screen TVs, even just a few years ago, despite them having been around for a significant period of time. Smart TVs, on the other hand, used to be extremely expensive, with very few brands in the market even offering them, online, or offline. Not only did most of these Smart TVs cost exorbitant prices, ranging anywhere between INR 1.6 lakhs to INR 7 lakhs, but their functionality was also limited, with the available content being equally poor in quality and appeal.

However, this all changed in 2017, with the arrival of a vast range of affordable Smart TVs by major Chinese brands, looking to leverage the untapped potential of the Indian market. Owing to the lack of significant competition, the market was soon flooded with a range of affordable Smart TVs offering a vast range of premium features. This had a huge impact on the lifestyles of most middle-class consumers, who could suddenly afford these modern technological wonders at a considerably lower price tag. Furthermore, this coincided with the wave of digitalisation in India, which also gave rise to several streaming devices, such as the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast.

In addition to that, the production of innovative and original content was also on the rise, especially on digital platforms, which helped OTT services gain a new foothold in the market. As a result, the entertainment portfolio changed completely, with an influx of curated premium content, including web series, movies, and more. This served as further motivation for consumers to buy Smart TVs, and enjoy the revolutionary viewing experience they offered. Many Smart TV manufacturers also grabbed the opportunity to tie up with OTT content and device providers to customise their products with built-in features aimed at improving convenience and enhancing the experience further.

With the rise of proprietary operating systems designed by major technology brands for Smart TVs, the sector experienced a rapid growth curve once again, as Smart TVs became a complete end-to-end infotainment solution, capable of a multitude of functions. Today, most Smart TVs are either powered by Android or iOS, allowing a number of commonly used apps and services to also be included in their offerings. Regional brands soon caught on to this rapidly expanding market, leveraging the favourable policies and regulations put in place by the Government to establish their presence, in keeping with the Make in India and Digital India initiatives.

Falling data prices in the country have been yet another factor contributing to the rapid growth of Smart TVs, with reports showcasing a 27% quarterly growth in many cities, in the last year itself. This is indicative of an industry that is only in its nascent stage even now, with technological advancements and innovation expected to repaint the future of the domain itself, within the next couple of years. In fact, there has been a marked rise in the popularity of 4K TVs, catering to the rising aspirations, tastes, and demands of consumers. In fact, estimates state that by the year 2024, as much as 60% of televisions in the United States will be replaced by 4K TVs, with the same following soon, in India.

Current trends show that online sales of 43-55 inch Smart TVs are rising at an incredibly fast pace, accounting for close to 30% of the 22,000-crore market, with smaller screened TVs losing momentum just as rapidly. As such, the future of the domain seems to herald a veritable cornucopia of possibilities, assisted by new-age technological features. For instance, Smart TVs will soon have the ability to be integrated with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, and be operable via one’s smartphone itself. With the Internet of Things (IoT) primed to power most gadgets in the future, this spells wonders for the dynamism and functionality Smart TVs can offer. Riding high on this wave and further stimulated by the aspirational goals of consumers, the boom of affordable Smart TVs will continue well into the next few years, or more.

Authored by: Sumit Maini (Director, Westway Electronics) 

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