The future of smartphone penetration in India seemed uncertain just a couple of months ago when the hike in excise duty for mobile phones was announced at the Union Budget 2013. One of the questions raised was the effect it would have on high-end smartphone market, as these exhorbitantly high-priced devices would suffer the most from the hike in excise duty. Several high-end devices have entered the market since then, capable of digging a deep hole in your pockets. We spoke to the local vendors and shopkeepers to find out how the high-end smartphone market has been evolving, which high-end smartphone models have been selling well and which brands are customers looking for. Let’s find out what’s hot and what’s not in the smartphones category priced above Rs 30,000.

What’s hot

Samsung holds the top position as its newest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S4, has been getting the highest sales, disclose vendors. The newest top of the line smartphone from Samsung’s Galaxy range has an overwhelming demand in the market, and its Rs 40,000 price tag hasn’t stopped consumers from accepting the device with open arms. Apple follows in next with the 16GB iPhone 5. The 16GB version of the iPhone 5, priced at Rs 43,000, takes the second spot. The 32GB and 64GB versions of the iPhone 5 have also been doing decent sales. 

In spite of the spruced up 5-incher category and the variety of options available in the market, the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 continues to garner good sales. It is still one of the most-preferred device and well in stock. Some high-end HTC devices are in demand, but there is a lack of stock availability. Moving on to the LG Optimus G, though it is not in demand as the other mentioned devices,the sales are decent. Two to three units of the LG Optimus G are sold every 10 days, says a vendor. On the other hand, there is no word on the LG Optimus G Pro reaching India, or even the grey markets.

What’s not
According to the vendors, the demand for the Lumia 920 is falling as only one or two units of the device are being sold every week. The vendors reveal that people seem to be more interested in the Lumia 720 rather than the 920. Looks like Lumia 920 has some in-house competition. The completely overhauled, BB 10-enabled, BlackBerry Z10 smartphone has not been attracting the local markets enough. Roughly one unit of the device is being sold in every ten days, says a vendor. Sony's Xperia Z and ZL are doing “ok” sales, but the demand has fallen over the weeks. In spite of the decent demand for the HTC Butterfly, its sales aren’t attractive due to the unavailability (out of stock) of the smartphone.

Yet another HTC device, the HTC One, sings to a similar tune. It has a decent consumer demand but no official stocks are made available yet. The grey market price of the device is around Rs 48,000, while the official stocks are said to hit the market this week for Rs 42,000. Another highly-anticipated smartphone is the BlackBerry Q10. The grey market price of the Q10 is Rs 52,000 while the official price is yet unclear.

Take a look at the table below to view the details of the high-end smartphones priced above Rs 30,000. The ones highlighted in red indicate the hot-selling devices.


Table showing smartphones above Rs 30,000, hot selling ones are highlighted

Disclaimer: The details mentioned herein are based on the information provided by local dealers and our market sources in Mumbai city, and reflect the rates applicable at the time this article was published. The views expressed in the article in no way reflect the official sales records of the respective companies.

Image credit: Harshad Gujare

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