Pixel 3 pricing may hit Google’s bid to break into premium segment: Analysts

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Pricing of new Pixel phones is very close to new iPhones this year and have been caught in a clamp of import duty .
NEW DELHI: High pricing of Google’s latest Pixel smartphones – Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL – is likely to thwart the Internet giant’s fresh bid to make a dent in the premium smartphone segment in the Indian market dominated by the likes of OnePlus, Samsung and Apple, analysts said.

The US major may need to offer direct and indirect discounts and promotional offers to move the needle for its latest devices which offer only a marginal upgrade over last year’s Pixel 2 devices, they added.
“Not many changes this year, but prices look way too high. If you ask, will there be a positive uptake of pixel phones? I don’t think that will happen. The benchmark that OnePlus has set in $500-$700 segment, and number of features that it offers, is immense,” said Upasana Joshi, associate research manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

Pricing of new Pixel phones is very close to new iPhones this year and have been caught in a clamp of import duty that has almost doubled amid the steep depreciation of the rupee. Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will be available in 12 markets including India from November 1.

In India, for the Pixel 3 range costs between Rs 71,000 -Rs 80,000, and Rs 83,000 - Rs 92,000 for the Pixel 3 XL variant, pushing it into the super-premium segment which typically starts from Rs 50,000 and above. One trend going for Google, though, is that Indians are willing to pay more for smartphones, pushing up the average selling price (ASP) of devices, said Counterpoint’s associate director Tarun Pathak.

Google declined to comment for this story.

The premium segment – over Rs 30,000 – has historically been dominated by Samsung and Apple, but China’s One-Plus has upended the two giants in recent quarters to corner the top spot.
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This segment offers far more value for smartphone makers but less volume.

Through its Pixel series, Google has been trying for the last few years to make a mark but hasn’t managed to get a foothold so far. It only sold 80,000 Pixel 2 smartphones since its launch in India, industry data showed. Counterpoint Research data showed that Pixel had just 1% market share in the premium segment in the April-July quarter, with OnePlus, Samsung and Apple being the top three.
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