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Monday, July 29, 2013
Indian Handset Brands Conquer Smart Mobile Phone Market.
A few years ago no one could think beyond Nokia or Samsung while buying a phone. Then, sometime in 2008, brands such as Micromax came into the market and took away a cool 25 per cent share in just two years. These players saw a gap in the market with dual SIM phones, something which the global brands did not have.
Home-grown vendor Micromax now commands the third position in the overall handset market after Nokia and Samsung. In the smartphone segment, Micromax and Karbonn came in after Samsung, according to analyst firm Cyber Media Research.
“Home-grown vendors rose banking on the dual-SIM (two SIM-cards in a handset) phenomenon. Offerings were restricted. And we established ourselves,” S.N. Rai, Co-Founder and Director, Lava Mobile.
Intex’s Sanjay Kumar Kalirona too admits that dual-SIM was the game changer for the rise of home-grown vendors. The market peaked between 2009 and 2011. The number of local handset vendors grew to 28 from five (2008-09); increased to nearly 400 (in 2010-11); and consolidated to 150 (by 2012-13). “We led the way with sub-categories like the long-battery life and dual-SIM phones. These were based on consumer demands of the time,” Rahul Sharma, co-founder, Micromax said.
According to Katyayan Gupta, Analyst at Forrester Research, the Indian brands have now grown beyond the dual-SIM phenomenon. “Apart from attractive prices and multiple SIM options, Indian vendors sold handsets that had features which were then restricted to high-end devices,” Gupta added.
Indian players also ensured that they played on the pricing. The best of features that came in the MNC brands had a price tag varying between Rs 8,000 and Rs 11,000(Approx US$ 150-200). The sweet-spot (or popular models) remained between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000(Approx US$ 90-100).
“The fight boiled down to the mid-end segment. MNCs didn’t have offerings at varied price points. The Indian brands capitalised with similar offerings at lower price,” Ajjay Agarwal, CMD, Maxx Mobile, pointed out.
“We improved on available options and ensured similar features of MNC brands at affordable costs. We invested in the brand,” Sashin Devsare, Executive Director, Karbonn Mobiles, said.