Luxury phones are not a new phenomenon in India. While most luxury car brands have launched phones earlier, their growth so far has not been very enticing. Vertu, a luxury phone maker launched phones in India back in 2013 with the range starting at Rs 6.5 lakhs. Touted to be the phone meant for the uber rich, fast upgrading software in Android devices, new OS launches made the phones obsolete in a matter of months. But Apple’s recently launched iPhone XS Max that costs Rs 1 lakh shows that Apple’s growth in the luxury phone market can be emulated by other luxury brands as well. Are the Indian consumers ready for such phones? We take a look.
Indian luxury phone market so far has been evasive of luxury phones primarily due to the fact that the consumers just didn’t see any value in such phones. The smartphone industry’s race to quickly release phones with better technology pushed consumers to choose other options. But not anymore. The luxe consumer segment who chose to stick with Android did not have much choice besides Samsung’s flagship phones. Google intends to change all that with the launch of its new Pixel smartphones. Being touted as the most luxe Android phones, the Pixel smartphones would come with technical specifications that put most flagships to shame.
Vertu Aster P Gold – Rs 10 Lakhs
(image source – bgr.in)
Looking at the success of iPhone as a luxury phone in India, Vertu is planning a revival as well. Launching their new Aster P series in Beijing recently, the company plans to bring their Aster P Baroque and Aster P Gothic phones to India soon. The phone will feature Titanium alloy frame, real leather back finish and a slew of other expensive materials besides a premium finish. Currently available for preorder in China, the phone prices range from Rs 3.5 Lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs for the dazzling Gold version.
Hanmac – Rs 2.25 lakhs approx.
(image source – Hanmac)
Luxury phone maker Hanmac is another such brand planning to launch their phones in India. Since, their showcase at MWC Shanghai 2018, the phones have already gained quite a following due to their excellent craftsmanship. The company plans to start operations in India by early 2019 with plans to sell roughly 1500 units in India. A very small number as compared to the giants like Samsung or Apple, but at $3200 per unit (roughly Rs2.25 lakhs), that might just be an achievable number for the brand.
Hadoro One Plus – Rs 2 Lakhs approx.
(Image Source – Hadoro)
OnePlus is another such brand making a foray in co-branded luxury phones with their Hadoro OnePlus 6 Carbon. Designed by the French luxury design house, Hadoro Paris. The OnePlus 6 phone has been customised by the design house with the backplate made of new Aero Carbon and fibreglass instead of the standard glass back. Based on the Damascus Steel’s styling, the key highlight of the phone is the glowing Oneplus logo in the middle of the back cover made with a scratch-proof Sapphire Glass. The limited edition Hadoro OnePlus 6 phone comes at a cost of 2700 Euros (Rs 2 Lakhs) and offers free worldwide shipping. As an ad-on, customers can also have their names engraved on the panel making it perfect as a gifting item.
(image source – bgr.in)
Luxury car brands such as Ferrari and others have also shown interest in the segment. As per news reports, Ferrari has partnered with Vertu to launch a smartphone soon in India known as The Vertu Constellation Quest Ferrari. Although price has not been revealed yet however, industry experts believe the pricing could be anywhere between 7 – 10 Lakhs for each phone. The Mclaren inspired OnePlus 6T phone was recently launched in India at a humble price of Rs 50,000. To differentiate itself from other phones, the flagship has a 10GB RAM with warp charge, and much more. Many other Luxury car and lifestyle brands partnerships have been announced for special launches in the Indian market. Clearly the industry has seen a demand for it and the brands are lapping up the opportunities. What’s different this time around is the fact that Brands are targeting pricing with caution. But with growing demand and purchasability of the upper middle class, the market truly is ready for niche, high-end phones.