For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

New disruptions are the only way technology and target audiences can have a cohesive relationship. Exemplifying this is the JioPhone Next, a ‘one-of-a-kind’ device. Why is it such a game changer? For starters, it is built in a way that assists the conversion of non-smartphone users to the smartphone family at the earliest. 

The 2X upgrade

The phone, jointly developed by Google and Reliance Jio, is set to get the rural masses still stuck with lagging 2G networks to the lightning speeds of the 4G service. It promises the uninitiated such as people belonging to the older generations, low-tier consumers and economically weaker sections to blend in with the urbanites. Features such as a superior camera and enhanced security – normally available for high-end smartphones – will reflect in these models along with the Google Assistant and the read aloud on screen language text feature. 

This launch will augur well for the rural demographic of the country, who according to Mintel research is inclined to be a part of the technological revolution with open arms. Compared to two in five Indians from urban areas, 7 out of 20 Indians staying in rural areas feel that the statement ‘I like to be amongst the first to try new technologies’ describes them very well.

The regional users of JioPhone Next, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, will be able to personalise the phone in their mother-tongue, helping a huge chunk of them to adopt smartphones and unlock the convenience and potential that a digitally connected world holds at affordable prices. The much awaited phone will hit the shelves just in time with Diwali festivities.

The move is in line with the Mintel Trend, ‘Make it Mine’ which describes that personalisation is a right, not a privilege. By providing consumers with exactly what they want, when and how they want it, the brand is building a more personal relationship with the consumer. According to another Mintel trend ‘Culturally Connected’, reconnecting with elements of their heritage offers a lifeline of connection to people, and in return influences their future. By offering language personalisation, JioPhone Next will enable consumers to remain rooted to their culture, while being abreast with technology. As Mintel Trend ‘Click and Connect’ describes it, Reliance Jio is using technological devices and digital platforms to connect consumers and enhance their relationships. The brand has positioned technology, particularly mobile technology, as a social enhancer rather than an isolator.  

The disruptions to be brought about by the JioPhone Next are in sync with the Filipino banking behemoth EastWest Bank which gives its customers the option to customise their insurance plans based on their needs, with features akin to e-commerce websites, making shopping for insurance with specific needs and budgets a breeze. Another innovative idea is that by VIPKid which is planning to launch courses based on the concept of ‘intangible cultural heritage’, for 7-10 year-olds where they will fuse Chinese culture, local traditions with daily English skills giving children the much needed exposure and skill to develop both at the same time. Another brand, Cult Creatives, is developing an app to connect local artists with similar backgrounds to exchange resources and work together, making the concept of networking of creativity a reality.

What’s next

Brands will have to be mindful of how they design their infrastructure keeping in mind the aspirations of the “Digital India” dream. With the Indian market being very sensitive to price fluctuations, these will have to be made to provide sync in the mass production of devices, and the apps, platforms plus content that goes in supporting them. With smartphones ruling the roost with fast internet connectivity plans, Mintel’s Technology Driver has very well laid the ground rules for the survival of the fittest – only those brands that manage to bring about changes in technology in line with consumer expectations and behaviour will flourish.