Strategy Analytics, a market researcher, has announced that 44% of smartphone owners plan on replacing their devices in 6 months as it released a new report on India's Android phone replacement dynamics. The report says some 800 models compete for mind and wallet share of the ₹1.07 lakh crore ($16 billion) Indian smartphone market.

The report, which uses on-device polling from the AppOptix consumer telemetry platform, finds that battery life is the key driver of smartphone purchases for 45% of Indian replacement buyers, followed by camera quality. 4G/LTE, while limited in availability in India, is also growing in importance at 18%.

The on-device survey, completed with Strategy Analytics' panel of Indian smartphone users, found that two-thirds prefer online channels for their next smartphone compared to 25% who actually bought online in 2015.

The firm said Micromax has the greatest exposure to replacement sales, with 38% of its owners very likely to replace their device. In contrast only 16% of Xiaomi owners are very likely to replace their device in the next 6 months.

Micromax under pressure

"Micromax, currently the number two vendor in India, is under intense pressure as its customers look to upgrade their devices. Stronger offerings from Chinese vendors Oppo, Vivo, LeEco and Lenovo, along with upcoming local players, such as Reliance Jio, will make the Android smartphone market even more volatile in the second half of 2016," said David Kerr, SVP at Strategy Analytics.

"India is a critical market for Chinese vendors with aspirations to be top-five globally as the domestic Chinese market matures. Only 1 in 4 Indians have smartphones today, so the upside opportunity is huge," added Yiwen Wu, senior analyst for smartphones. "However, establishing the correct mix of product, channels and price-tier support represents significant challenges for Chinese OEMs, who need stronger understanding of the local Indian needs," he said.