Why do Nepalis favour smartphones that look good in design than in specs?

Galaxy S23 series smartphones. Photo: Samsung
Galaxy S23 series. Photo: Samsung

Smartphone companies worldwide have a specific thing in their smartphones or their phone lineup making them unique. Whether they are the sophisticated smartphones from Apple in the USA or the Android giants Samsung from Korea or the affordable Androids from China, all phone companies have something in their particular smartphone or a series to make them unique.

This uniqueness or difference now plays a vital role in the sales of these smartphones. The current trend in the smartphone market is even more interesting.

Nepal also is a huge smartphone market currently importing smartphones on a million-dollar scale. If you see it properly, there are more people in Nepal who favour the smartphones’ looks and design over the technical specification. Why anyway? Will it ever change?

Current trend

If you see the trend in the current smartphone market, phone companies have three categories of smartphones according to the price range: budget, midrange and top-of-the-line flagship smartphones. At a glance, you can see that there is a vast change in terms of design and specs between the budget and flagship smartphones.

For instance, take Apple.

Photo: apple

Apple currently has five models that are being sold in 2023: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone Se. The flagship phones are iPhone 14 Pro and the Pro Max whereas the budget one is iPhone SE. The difference between these two is purely visible.

The pro model has a matte finish with very less bezels and top-of-a-line design and tech specs whereas Se has the same base frame as iPhone 7 which was launched almost seven years back in 2016. Even though the chip and the performance are better, the current smartphone market does not go for the specifications but rather goes for the looks. Apple does the marketing on the same level too.

iPhone 14 Pro Max. Photo: Oliz store
iPhone 14 Pro Max. Photo: Oliz store

If you go and check the Apple website and check the marketing, you can find that the marketing for iPhone 14 Pro series is very different from iPhone Se. Apple’s premium smartphones get the premium look with premium marketing and thus have such a reputation. In Nepal too, the Pro series is more favoured as a status marker.

Regions and reasons

Why is it so then? Why do people favour better-looking phones and established brands such as iPhone and Samsung?

Samsung has brought a few changes in its design perspective as most of the phones released in 2023 are all based on the Samsung S23 series. Its new motto is flagship design in all smartphones helping them increase the market.

Samsung Galaxy A34 5G. Photo: Samsung
Samsung Galaxy A34 5G. Photo: Samsung

The triple camera setup with a shiny or matte texture gives a very nice design to the Samsung A series and M series phones launched in the global market and also those that have made it through the Nepali market are helping the company get more sales than ever. If you check the 10 top-selling smartphones in the world in 2022, you will get the iPhone series dominating, followed by Samsung’s A series. This year, A14 is also doing good sales in Nepal and the world already.

OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G
Photo: OnePlus

Apple products are more sold in Western countries where the average income is high and people thus have a better service. But in Asian and African countries, where the normal income of people is below the global average, people tend to search for good-looking smartphones on a very tight budget and change their phones frequently. Then, there come Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Remi, Realme, OPPO and OnePlus. They have the majority of the market in Asian countries.

Xiaomi 12 Lite. Photo: Mi
Xiaomi 12 Lite. Photo: Mi

In Nepal too, Xiaomi and Redmi are the top-selling smartphones along with the midrange and budget smartphones from Samsung. People seek good-looking phones that also have good battery life and are cheap. So smartphone companies offer such phones to Nepal among other developing countries. They bring good-looking smartphones that quickly gain the market. Within a short period, a smartphone gets upgraded.

The technological aspect of why smartphones are on the budget and flagship levels is seen nowhere in the Nepali market. Very few people have the knowledge that phones with almost the same design features have different price ranges. In Nepal, many people still do not know why Apple’s iPhone are so expensive whereas the flagship killer OnePlus top-level smartphone can be found at half the price of Apple’s iPhone.


Smartphone companies’ marketing tactics are very dependent on what kind of market they are working on. For example, in the USA and most European countries, they work differently with very high and sophisticated marketing. Budget smartphones are more favoured in the countries like Nepal, India, and Bangladesh to get premium marketing and thus people buy these. People just do not care about the technical specifications.

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Dahal is a gadget/auto writer at Onlinekhabar.

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