India’s digital-first economy poised for growth in post-pandemic era: CMR

Birender Singh

Birender Singh

New Delhi/Gurugram, 19 April 2021: CMR today released the sixth edition of the “CMR 4Ps Mobile Plus Economy Report 2021”. Amidst the pandemic, the way we work, learn, live and unwind are undergoing a seismic shift. The report highlights major technology and consumer insights from India, around an array of themes ranging from growth of 5G-capable devices, to evolving consumer trends around OTT and Gaming.

For an entire generation of Indians, their smartphone is the primary, and only, platform to the digital world. The rapid availability, accessibility and affordability of smartphones in India across price points, coupled with affordable data rates has enabled this tremendous growth. The pandemic gave a significant thrust to India’s digital-first economy, with many new Internet users from rural India joining the digital economy.

According to Prabhu Ram, Head – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, “Amidst the pandemic,  the importance of connectivity as a key enabler of human lives was truly emphasized. As a whole new generation of India’s Internet users join the digital economy, which calls for new solutions and strategies to empower them. The foundation of the digital economy are the apps.  The power and potential of apps to resolve India’s challenges and generate economic benefits are immense.”

For India’s emerging app ecosystem, and especially app developers, who are at the forefront of building this new app economy, there is a need for providing seamless pathways for aided content discovery. Such pathways would also enable consumers seeking to discover content in their preferred languages.

“An enhanced app store ecosystem is key to innovate for the needs and challenges of India’s digital economy. In doing so, such an app ecosystem will enable not just content discovery in vernacular languages for users, but aid in maximizing reach for app developers,” added Rakesh Deshmukh, CEO and Co-Founder, Indus OS.

From a technology perspective, consumers continue to seek best-in-class capabilities for the post-pandemic future. This includes opting for 5G-capable phones, and phones with better camera, battery and audio features.

According to Shipra Sinha, Analyst – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, “5G will continue to be a key focus for OEMs in 2021, diffusing more powerful features across lower price tiers. Alongside, we see potential for the new affordable 4G smartphones to potentially push many 2G subscribers to embrace 4G. As we move forward, consumers seek the best-in-class technology capabilities – devices as well as services, to enable themselves for smarter living.”

Here are some of the key highlights from the report:

Best-in-Class Capabilities for Smart Living. 2020 set the stage for 5G-capable devices to go mainstream in India. In 2021 and beyond, irrespective of the state of 5G roll-out, the OEM focus will be on bringing new 5G-ready smartphones with better AMOLED displays, high-refresh rates and leading flagship features, such as 108 MP cameras.  The pandemic gave a strong thrust to enhanced, immersive audio experiences from consumers, operating in an everything-from-home context.

User-Generated Content to flourish. The year 2021 and beyond will be a major inflection point for the user-generated content in India. With more powerful smartphones available than before, and the persisting pandemic conditions, user-generated content will gain traction.

Hyperlocal and Social Commerce to gain currency. In the new post-virus world, some of the hyperlocal eCommerce strategies that bridge the online-to-offline gap, will continue to gain traction. Alongside, Aspirational India will continue to boost the growth of social commerce.

 App Ecosystem will further the Digital Economy. The pandemic necessitated a major shift towards digital for Indians, driven by affordable smartphones and data, especially in the rural economy. India is poised as a major market, not just for app consumption, but for app development that meets the aspirations of these new consumers.


About CMR 4Ps Mobile Plus Economy Report 2021

The CMR 4Ps of Mobile Plus Economy Report is an annual publication, chronicling the technology and market dynamics influencing the exciting Indian Mobile plus economy.

As a bellwether for the mobile handset industry in India, the CMR 4Ps Report brings all the major smartphone and digital industry participants in India on one page to deliberate on major themes that would define the industry in the years ahead. The report features bespoke intelligence and perspectives on the changing market and technology dynamics shaping Indian smartphone industry.

The sixth edition of the 4Ps Mobile Plus Economy report, includes rich perspectives from top CEOs and CXOs in the Indian mobile handset industry. The report features CXO perspectives from global technology giants, such as Intel, Ericsson and Nokia Networks; homegrown mobile companies, such as Lava and Karbonn; global mobile brands, including HMD Global; Chinese majors, including OPPO, realme, VIVO, Xiaomi, POCO, TRANSSION, and Motorola Mobility, among others; OTT brands, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime; ecommerce majors, including Amazon and Flipkart; Technology enablers, including MediaTek and UNISOC as well as Ecosystem Support Providers, such as IndusOS and others.

For more information on the 4Ps report, please reach out to Prabhu Ram, Head – Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR at