Rising Demand for Smart TVs In India Due to Increased Affordability

Sumit Maini, Director, Weston TelevisionOne of the most defining aspects of the technological revolution during the last two decades was the transformation and evolution of TV sets. Having witnessed several iterations and come a long way from the age-old CRT monitors and LCD Plasma TVs of the past, Smart TVs are today taking the world by storm. However, even until a few years ago, this technological marvel used to be too expensive for most middle-class households in India. Even during the latter half of 2014, there were only a handful of Smart TVs available in the market, and even those were unaffordable for most, costing between INR 1.6 lakhs to INR 7 lakhs. The lack of access to quality content was another important factor, with most televised programmes being extremely dated and lacklustre.

The arrival of a number of major Chinese brands and their affordable Smart HD TVs in 2017 changed all of that. The market was suddenly populated with a wide range of smart TVs with considerably lower price tags, unlocking an entirely new era for the Indian middle-class consumer.Prices of Smart TVs fell by over 40 percent, owing to the aggressive push for online sales by these brands. In fact, the sale of TVs online today accounts for more than 14 percent of the total TV market, compared to a meagre 3 percent, only three years ago. This unprecedented rise in the popularity and affordability of Smart TVs was further accompanied by the launch of several streaming devices such as the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast.

Not only have these devices completely transformed the TV viewing experience of consumers, but the rise of OTT services by these brands has also led to an infusion of premium programmes and movies in the segment.
As a result, countless Smart TV manufacturers have today collaborated with OTT content and device providers to offer convenient built-in features in their products. Not only do these features help make Smart TVs easier to use, but they also make these devices an end-to-end solution for today’s customers. Proprietary operating systems developed by major technology brands in the market have also helped in the unification of Smart TVs, most of which are powered by Android or iOS. This has also encouraged the inclusion of a plethora of apps in Smart TVs of today, which has made them extremely multifunctional and dynamic.

A number of regional brands have also shifted their attention to this rapidly expanding market, keen to establish their presence in it. This has created extremely intense competition in the premium segment, especially since several major players are now shifting their attention towards Ultra High Definition (UHD) screens, promoting them in their latest offerings. Encouraged by this, the popularity of Smart TVs in Indian households has rapidly and significantly increased, since mid-segment TVs are now available for much cheaper. For instance, a 32-inch HD-ready TV was priced at roughly INR 13,500 in 2016, for which, one can now buy a similar sized, full HD Smart TV, which cost around INR 28,000-29,000 back then. Similarly, a 43-inch, 4k Smart TV today costs around INR 30,000, from INR 45,000-50,000, just two years ago, and a 55-inch, 4K smart TV costs INR 45,000-55,000, contrary to its INR 70,000-80,000 price bracket, just a couple of years ago.

Such a monumental fall in their prices has also helped enlighten potential customers about the many ways that Smart TVs enhance one’s content viewing experience. With smart home systems and the home entertainment sector witnessing a similar rise in traction, the market is expected to face evenhigher demand for such devices over the next nine years. Large screen Smart TVs will expectedly be the frontrunners in capturing a substantial share of this market, fuelled by constantly increasing consumer aspirations and falling prices. As evidence to this, a study by Grand View Research, Inc. estimates that the global smart TV market will reach a valuation of as much as USD 292.55 billion by 2025.

Trends show that 4K resolution-equipped televisions, and a shift towards OLED and QLED displays, will dominate the Smart TV market in the coming years. Thus, it is now a definitive fact that Smart TVs are rapidly becoming one of the most preferred mainstream products in the Indian technology products market. Reenergised by India’s journey towards becoming a digitally-powered, internet-ready country, and cheap data costs, the segment will only grow further and attain newer heights, with Smart TVs completely replacing older TV sets still in use by certain families in the country.